Rare cancers overview

In the UK, childhood cancer is classified as a rare disease. These type of illnesses can be both life-limiting and life-threatening, and disproportionately affect children. 75% of all rare diseases affect children and sadly, more than 30% of children with a rare disease die before their fifth birthday. Patients with rare diseases, such as cancer, and their families can face a lifetime of complex care and living with a rare disease can also have a huge impact on someone’s education, financial stability, mobility and mental health (Department of Health & Social Care, The UK Rare Diseases Framework 2021).

Despite being a rare disease overall, there are cancers affecting children that are rarer than those commonly diagnosed within paediatric oncology. These rarer childhood cancer types are classified into two groups:

  • Other malignant epithelial neoplasms and malignant melanomas

  • Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms

Other malignant epithelial neoplasms and malignant melanomas include but are not limited to:

  • Adrenocortical carcinomas
  • Thyroid carcinomas
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinomas
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Skin carcinomas

Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms include other specific malignant tumours and other unspecified malignant tumours.

For more detailed information on each we recommend you speak to your medical team.

Learn more about rare types of childhood cancer

Newsletter icon
Newsletter icon

Sign up to our e-newsletter today

Sign up to our e-newsletter and receive exclusive stories straight to your inbox. You will also find out about our latest childhood cancer research news along with updates on our fundraising events, charity news and opportunities to support us. Don’t miss out!

By signing up to this newsletter I agree to receive general and financial appeal emails from Children with Cancer UK