The past decade has brought extraordinary gains in the outlook for children stricken with cancer. Though cancer remains a leading cause of death for children and young adults, more victims of child- hood cancer today will survive than will die. The therapeutic advances and the optimism they instill have prompted researchers and clinicians to analyze the impact of cancer upon young patients and their famil,ies and to devise more effective intervention strategies. Hope and survival, juxtaposed with the continuing high mortality associated with certain forms of the illness, add new challenges to management of the psychosocial aspects of cancer. To respond to these challenges we need research as rigorous as that which continues to make inroads in treating the physical illness. This specific concern for the needs of children suffering from cancer and their families has paralleled an increasing sensitivity on the part of the medical community and the public at large to the limitations of specialized, high technology health care practices.