In 2020, almost 280 000 children and adolescents (aged 0–19 years) were diagnosed with cancer worldwide and almost 110 000 children died from cancer. However, the actual numbers may be much higher, because in many countries childhood cancer is difficult to diagnose. Leukaemia was the most common cancer type in children and the most common recorded cause of cancer death in children.
In 2018, the World Health Organization launched the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, with support from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (USA), IARC, and other global partners. The initiative has the goal of achieving at least 60% survival for childhood cancer globally by 2030. One of the IARC-led programmes that supports the initiative is the Targeting Childhood Cancer through the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (ChildGICR) project, which aims to improve the quality and availability of data on cancer in children, particularly in countries with limited resources. IARC is also conducting other research related to childhood cancer.