A new report from the National Cancer Registry shows that childhood cancer mortality has declined over the past 50 years.

The report shows a significant reduction in the number of children dying from childhood cancer compared to the 1960s.

Since the 1990s fewer than 25 children under 15 died from cancer each year, compared with 50-60 children per year from the 1950s to the 1970s.

There has been a reduction in mortality rates of between 2.5-3% per year.

The report also shows there have been significant improvements in survival from leukaemia and lymphomas during the last 20 years.

However, the number of children with rare cancers increased between 1994 and 2014 - partly reflecting increases in the childhood population.

The Director of the National Cancer Registry said the fall in mortality rates for childhood cancer is due to improved treatments.

Professor Kerri Clough-Gorr said that on average, the survival rate for childhood cancer is 81%.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said the majority of cancers are treated with chemotherapy, which children tolerate fairly well. 

In the past, she said, many cancers went undiagnosed but are now being discovered and treated earlier. 

"The survival rate is 81% and that's really a great survival rate. Although we'd like it to improve and be higher, that is good news.

"Treatments are definitely improving and what we do know about treating childhood cancers is that the majority of them are treated with chemotherapy and we know that children tolerate chemotherapy really well."

She added that the "whys of childhood cancer remain unknown."

Prof Clough-Gorr said there needs to be a focus on making the survivorship of cancer the best it can be, which means focusing on the after effects of surviving cancer and ensuring patients get the best possible treatments.

"There are a lot of important issues like late effects, medical effects related to treatments. There can be slower delayed growth and development, learning problems, psycho social issues, there could be reproductive issues later in life.

"And of course there's always a potential increased risk of developing cancers later in life. These are all very very significant issues for families and children."