Types of Cancer in Children

Writer : Dr. Naskan

Cancer in Children, Even for adults, receiving a cancer diagnosis is upsetting, but this is especially true for children. You may wonder, "Who should treat my child?" It's normal. Do you think my child will recover? My family's future is in jeopardy. The information and resources on this page are a good place to start if you're interested in learning more about childhood cancer.

Children's Cancer Types

Estimated 10,500 new cases of cancer among children ages birth to 14 years in the United States in 2021, and 1,190 children are expected to die as a result. Children's deaths from cancer have decreased by 65% between 1970 and 2016, but the disease is still the leading cause of death in this age group. Leukemias, brain tumors, and lymphomas are among the most common cancers diagnosed in children between the ages of 0 and 14.

Detailed cancer rate and trend data for certain childhood cancers are included in NCI's Cancer Stat Facts database.

Pediatric Cancer Treatment

It is not always the case that cancers in children receive the same treatment as cancers in adults. Children with cancer are the focus of pediatric oncology, a medical specialty. It's critical to be aware of the expertise available and the fact that many types of childhood cancer can be successfully treated.

Types of Treatment

Various methods of cancer treatment are available. Depending on the type of cancer and its stage, a child with cancer will receive a variety of treatment options. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and a stem cell transplant are among the most common treatments. Here, you can find out more about these and other therapies.

There must be clinical trials (research studies) in order for any new treatment to go on the market and be proven effective in treating disease. For children and adolescents with cancer, clinical trials often compare newer treatments to current treatments that are widely accepted as the norm. For the most part, clinical trials have been successful in identifying effective therapies against childhood cancer.

Patients and caregivers can learn more about clinical trials on our page dedicated to that topic. If you have any questions about the process, the Cancer Information Service staff at NCI can assist you in finding out about current clinical trials for children with cancer.

Treatment Side Effects

Children with cancer, as well as those who have survived the disease, face particular challenges throughout the course of treatment and in the years following. Aside from the fact that cancer treatment affects growing bodies in a different way than it does adult bodies, children's bodies also respond differently to drugs designed to treat symptoms in adults. A summary of PDQ® Pediatric Supportive Care can be found at the link provided. On this page, we'll talk about the long-term effects of treatment in the Survivorship section.

a facility dedicated to the care of pediatric cancer patients

Hospitals or units within hospitals that specialize in treating children with cancer are commonly used to treat children with cancer.

There is a wide range of services available to children at these centers, including medical care, nutrition, and education. Pediatric oncologists and hematologists, pediatric surgeons and radiation oncologists, as well as physical therapists, social workers and psychologists, are all likely to be found in a children's cancer center. Clinical trials are available for a wide range of childhood cancers at these centers, and many patients are given the opportunity to participate in a trial.

To better treat and care for children with cancer, COG is a global clinical research organization. Families can use the Cancer Information Service of the NCI to locate hospitals affiliated with the COG.

The Pediatric Oncology Branch of the NCI is located in Bethesda, Maryland, at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. In order to better treat children and young adults with cancer and genetic tumor predisposition syndromes, medical professionals and scientists carry out translational research spanning basic science to clinical trials.

Adapting to the Challenges of Cancer Treatment

Everyone in a family faces difficulties when dealing with a child's cancer diagnosis and figuring out how to stay strong. Our page, Support for Families When a Child Has Cancer, provides advice on how to talk to children about their cancer and prepare them for the changes they may face. Tips for working with the health care team are also included in this guide for families dealing with a child's illness. Parents' guide to helping their children with cancer cope and find resources can be found in the book entitled "Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents."


After their treatment is complete, survivors of childhood cancer must receive follow-up care in order to keep tabs on their health. A treatment summary and a survivorship care plan, as described on our page on care for childhood cancer survivors, should be provided to all survivors upon completion of their treatment. Clinics specializing in providing follow-up care for childhood cancer survivors are also listed on that page.

Any cancer survivor can experience side effects months or years after treatment has ended, a condition known as "late effects." However, children who have been treated for cancer should be especially concerned about these side effects, because they can have long-term physical and emotional consequences. The type of cancer, the age of the child, the type of treatment, and other factors all play a role in the long-term effects. On our Care for Childhood Cancer Survivors page, you'll find information about the different types of late effects and how to deal with them. In-depth information can be found in the PDQ® Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer summary.

An additional topic covered in the book Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents is post-survival care and adjustments.

Defintion of Childhood Cancer.

Most childhood cancers go undiagnosed because of unknown factors. Cancer in children accounts for only 5% of all cases (a genetic mutation that can be passed from parents to their children).

In both children and adults, it is believed that the majority of cancers are caused by gene mutations that cause unchecked cell growth and subsequently cancer. These gene mutations in adults reflect the cumulative effects of aging and long-term exposure to cancer-causing agents. Because childhood cancer is uncommon and it can be difficult to determine what children were exposed to early on in their development, figuring out the environmental causes of childhood cancer has proven to be a challenge. Information on the possible causes of childhood cancer can be found on the fact sheet Cancer in Children and Adolescents.



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