Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

They are words a parent never wants to hear: “Your child has cancer.”

childhood cancer awareness month

In the United States, one in 285 children under age 20 will be diagnosed with cancer each year. While relatively rare, pediatric cancers are often devastating. These cancers are the leading cause of death from disease in children and adolescents.

Thanks to advances propelled by cancer research, pediatric cancer death rates have declined by nearly 70 percent over the past four decades. Despite those advances, approximately 15,590 new cases of cancer were expected to be diagnosed among children from birth to 19 years, and more than 1,780 died from these diseases in 2021, according to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). 

The most common types of cancers in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), brain and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors, and neuroblastoma. Taken together, these cancers accounted for about half of the new cases each year.

“Pediatric cancer research in many ways has played a leading role in the history of cancer research,” explains John M. Maris, MD, the Giulio D’Angio Endowed Professor of pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Many of the early discoveries of how chemotherapy can work to cure cancer were first seen in children with cancer.” 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

What is the AACR Doing in ThE Area of childhood cancer Research?

AACR Conferences

In February 2023, the AACR Special Conference: Pediatric Hematologic Malignancies will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.


The AACR has recently awarded research grants to investigators pursuing promising research related to pediatric cancers.

Adrienne Long, MD, PhD, of Stanford University was awarded the 2022 AACR-Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, Young Investigator Award for Translational Cancer Research.

Robbie J. Majzner, MD, of Stanford University was awarded the 2021 AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant.

Pediatric Cancer Working Group

The mission of the AACR’s Pediatric Cancer Working Group (PCWG) is to establish childhood cancer research as a global priority supported by improved funding, the very latest technologies, and the best educational strategies. The PCWG provides a forum for communication and collaboration among basic, clinical, and translational researchers in academia, industry, and government on all aspects of pediatric cancer research. The group serves as an interface bridging the AACR with advocacy and legislative groups to promote the prevention and cure of cancers in children. 

In June 2017, the AACR published its first set of consensus screening recommendations for children with common cancer predisposition syndromes in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the AACR. These recommendations emerged from the Childhood Cancer Predisposition Workshop held by the AACR Pediatric Cancer Working Group in October 2016.