Other carcinomas and melanomas

03 May 2011
Most carcinomas and melanomas are characteristically cancers of adulthood and, even within childhood, the incidence increases steeply with age.

Two thirds of affected children are in the oldest category (10 to 14 years).

The group of ‘other’ carcinomas (which excludes carcinomas of the kidney, liver and gonads) and melanomas accounts for 3.3 per cent of childhood cancers.

Including carcinomas of the kidney, liver and gonads, carcinomas account for 2.6 per cent of childhood cancers overall (38 cases per year). The most common ‘other’ carcinoma is thyroid carcinoma, accounting for around seven cases per year. The other most frequent sites include the adrenal gland, the salivary gland and the nasopharynx (top of the throat).

melanomas account for one per cent of all childhood cancers (15 cases per year). Most malignant melanomas originate in the skin but, rarely, they may originate in the eye or the central nervous system (CNS).


There is wide variation in survival in this varied group of cancers.

Ten-year survival ranges from 100 per cent for thyroid carcinoma and 97 per cent for salivary gland carcinoma to 50 per cent for adrenocortical carcinoma and 24 per cent for colorectal carcinoma.

Malignant melanoma has ten year survival of 86 per cent. CNS melanoma has been fatal in all recorded cases in Britain.

Childhood Cancer in Britain: incidence, survival, mortality. Ed by Charles Stiller. Oxford University Press, 2007.


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