Survival rates for children with cancer

This information was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

More children than ever before are surviving cancer. There have been huge improvements in cancer treatment for children in the past 50 years. Over 8 in 10 (82%) of children with cancer are now cured, compared with fewer than 3 in 10 (less than 30%) between 1962–1971.

Research is continuing to improve treatments and reduce side effects. To compare the results of treatments, doctors often use five- or 10-year survival rates. It is estimated that there are at least 35,000 people in the UK alive having been diagnosed with a childhood cancer and survived more than five years.

Every child is different and the doctors will discuss your child’s illness and the likely success of treatment with you.

Incidence rates

Types of cancer in children:

  • Leukaemias 31%
  • Brain and spinal tumours 26%
  • Lymphomas 10%
  • Soft tissue sarcomas 7%
  • Neuroblastoma 6%
  • Kidney tumours 5%
  • Bone tumours 4%
  • Germ cell tumours 3%
  • Retinoblastoma 3%
  • Liver tumours 2%
  • Other types 4%

Children's cancer information from CCLG

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). It has been reviewed and edited by their publications committee, which includes medical experts from all fields of children’s cancer and care.

Talk to Macmillan

If you doctor has talked to you about how likely it is that your child will be cured, you might find it helpful to talk to us. You can ask us any questions, talk about what you've been told, or just chat through how you're feeling. You can call us Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm. Or to talk to other people who are affected by cancer visit our Online Community at any time of the day. You could start by joining the group for parents of children with cancer.

Back to About children's cancers

Medical terms explained

Doctors may use unfamiliar words about your child's cancer and we explain some of the most common ones.