Information on cancer types

There are many different types of childhood cancer. We have listed the most common types of childhood cancer below, with detailed information available via the links.

Childhood cancers pie chart

Bone tumours

Malignant bone tumours are diagnosed in around 60 children every year in the UK.

The survival rate for bone tumours is among the lowest of all the childhood cancers.

There are two main types of bone tumour diagnosed in childhood – osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.

Read more: Osteosarcoma | Ewing sarcoma

Brain and spinal tumours

Brain and spinal tumours (or central nervous system, CNS tumours) are the most common solid tumours to occur in children, with more than 400 new cases a year in the UK.

CNS tumours are responsible for more than one third of all childhood cancer deaths, claiming the lives of around 100 children every year in the UK.

Read more: Brain and spinal tumours

Germ cell tumours

Germ cells are the cells which develop into sperm and eggs.

Germ cell tumours are a diverse group of tumours. They can occur in different parts of the body and there are several distinct sub-types.

Read more: Germ cell tumours


Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood. It is the most common type of childhood cancer, with almost 500 new cases every year in the UK.

There are two main types of childhood leukaemia - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia. Chronic myeloid leukaemia affects a small number of children.
Read more: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia  | Acute myeloid leukaemia  | Chronic myeloid leukaemia

Liver tumours

Tumours of the liver are rare in childhood; around 18 children are diagnosed each year in the UK, about one per cent of all childhood cancers.

Eighty per cent of childhood liver tumours are hepatoblastomas, a type of embryonal tumour; the remainder are hepatic carcinomas.  

Read more: Liver tumours


Lymphomas are cancers that start in the lymphatic system. They account for around 10 per cent of childhood cancer cases, affecting around 160 children every year in the UK.

There are two main types of lymphoma in childhood – Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Read more: Hodgkin lymphoma | Non-Hodgkin lymphoma


Neuroblastoma is a cancer of specialised nerve cells, called neural crest cells.

It the second most common solid tumour in childhood, accounting for six per cent of all childhood cancers, just under 100 children a year in the UK.

Read more: Neuroblastoma

Renal tumours

Around 90 children are diagnosed with renal (kidney) tumours every year in the UK. Ninety per cent of these cases are Wilms' tumour (also known as nephroblastoma).

Rarer types of renal tumours are rhabdoid renal tumour, clear cell sarcoma of the kidney and renal carcinoma.

Read more: Wilms' tumour


Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the eye (the retina). It is very rare, affecting around 40 children a year in the UK – about 3 per cent of all childhood cancer cases.

Read more: Retinoblastoma

Soft tissue sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas account for seven per cent of childhood cancers, with just over 100 children diagnosed every year in the UK.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma, accounting for just over half of all cases.

Read more: Rhabdomyosarcoma

Where your money goes

Hover over a segment for details