We have a wealth of information available about the various types of childhood cancer, including the different treatments available for each type and the potential side effects of these treatments.
Advances in treatment and care have dramatically improved the outlook for young cancer patients, however, despite a wealth of research much uncertainty remains over the causes of childhood cancers.
Please visit the pages below to find out more.
The types of cancer affecting children, as well as what causes cancer in children, are quite different to those affecting adults.
Several types of cancer are virtually unique to children, but the cancers most often seen in adults – including those of the lung, breast and stomach – are extremely rare in children.
The outlook for children with cancer has improved dramatically over the last 50 years. In the early 1960s, three quarters of children diagnosed with cancer died. Today, more than three quarters of children survive. However this high overall survival rate masks wide variation between different types of cancer.
Retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye, can now be cured in almost every young patient. Neuroblastoma has the worst overall survival of the 10 main diagnostic groups – at 67%. Within the main diagnostic groups, there are some rare sub-types of cancer that still have appallingly low survival rates. High grade astrocytoma, a type of brain tumour, kills more than 80% of young patients within five years.
The treatments used for childhood cancer are toxic, unpleasant and ...
Complementary therapies are thought to be used by up to a third of cancer sufferers. These therapies may be used alongside the conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, not as an alternative.
Complementary therapies are generally used to help with the symptoms of disease and the side effects of treatment. Side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue and pain are well known but depression and anxiety are also very common and complementary therapies can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Some cancer centres offer complementary therapies directly. Some patients will need to seek independent practitioners; in all cases it is advisable to seek advice from your child’s doctor. Some complementary therapies may actually interfere with conventional treatments.
A stem cell transplant is used to restore normal blood cell production in people whose bone marrow has been damaged.
A stem cell transplant (SCT) allows children to have much higher doses of chemotherapy than they could otherwise tolerate. This improves the chance of curing their cancer but has more side effects. Very high doses of chemotherapy destroy the blood stem cells in bone marrow, so after high-dose chemotherapy a child will be given stem cells via a drip. These make their way to the bone marrow and start producing blood cells again.
Stem cell transplantation is the new terminology for what used to be known as bone marrow transplantation. The new terminology reflects a different way of collecting the cells for transplantation.
Around 2,200 15 to 24-year-olds are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.
This age group is referred to as ‘teenage and young adult’ or ‘TYA’.
TYA cancers bridge the gap between paediatric and adult oncology: many of the childhood cancers no longer feature and adult cancers begin to make up a significant proportion of the overall cancer burden. For more statistics specific to childhood cancers, take a look at our Facts & Figures page.
4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. That’s ten every day.
The types of cancer affecting children are quite different from the cancers that affect teenagers and young adults (TYA); TYA cancers are different again from the types of cancer that typically affect adults aged 25+.
Thanks to investment in research and treatment, survival has increased dramatically over the past 50 years and four out of five young cancer patients can be successfully treated.
Below you will find information about the different types of cancer which can affect children, teenagers and young adults.