Improvements in cancer survival

THE rate of children dying from cancer has fallen by almost 60 per cent over the last 40 years, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK.

The overall death rate dropped from 73.4 per million children between 1966 and 1970 to 31.9 per million children between 2001 and 2005.

In the late ’60s, less than three out of 10 children survived beyond 5 years. Today, that figure is almost eight out of 10.

The news comes as Cancer Research UK launches its annual Little Star Awards, in partnership with labels-for-less retailer TK Maxx, across East Anglia.

Relatives and friends of young cancer patients or survivors from across Norfolk are being urged to nominate them now for special recognition of their courage in the run up to Christmas.

Last year 33 children from across East Anglia received a Little Star Award. Unlike many other children’s awards, there is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK and TK Maxx believe each and every child who faces cancer is extra special.

Recipients get a unique trophy, a �50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by a host of celebrities including pop sensations Rihanna, Leona Lewis and The Jonas Brothers, as well as Premiership football aces Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas.

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Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK spokesman for East Anglia said: “The Little Star Awards are now in their eighth year and we are delighted to be able to combine the 2010 launch with such positive news about childhood cancer survival.

“The progress we’re seeing in children’s cancer reflects years of research that has led to advances in treatment. Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of this progress.”

The good news is even more marked for some types of cancer.

Forty years ago, less than 40pc of children diagnosed with a lymphoma would survive more than five years, today almost 90pc beat the disease.

And around 80pc of children are now cured through treatment for leukaemia compared to less than 10pc in the late 1960s.

To nominate a Little Star email: or visit

The awards are open to all under 18s who have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.