Childhood cancers are rare, and only specially-trained doctors have the knowledge and experience to properly treat them. In fact, your child needs to be treated by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric oncology physicians and specialists. The team includes the primary care physician, pediatric surgical sub-specialists, radiation oncologists, pediatric medical oncologists/hematologists, rehabilitation specialists, pediatric nurse specialists, social workers, and others. This approach ensures that your child will receive the treatment, supportive care, and rehabilitation therapies that will give him or her, the best chance at not only survival, but a good quality of life.
List of Types of Childhood Cancer:
- Bone Cancers
- Brain Cancers
- Rhabdoid Tumors
- Wilms Tumor
Childhood cancer multidisciplinary teams are found at specific institutions, most of which are listed at the bottom of this page. Your primary care physician should refer you to one of these institutions. At these pediatric cancer centers, clinical trials are available for most types of cancer that occur in children and adolescents. For information on available clinical trials, these can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov
Additional Websites on Types of Childhood Cancers
The following web sites are recommended because they have good descriptions of the different types of childhood cancers and of their treatments.
National Cancer Institute (NCI): The NCI’s web site lists the treatment summaries, know as PDQs, for childhood cancers at the page below. Treatment summaries describe in detail each childhood cancer and its treatment in patient, health professional, and Spanish versions. These summaries are updated regularly and are arguably the standard source of information for cancer in the U.S. ,
St. Jude Research Hospital: Disease descriptions and treatment options.
Children’s Oncology Group (COG): COG’s public web site; information about childhood cancers and treatment.
- Each day in the U.S., approximately 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- In the early 1950s, less than 10 percent of childhood cancer patients could be cured. Today, some forms of childhood cancer have cure rates over 80%.
- In 80% of cases, a child‟s cancer diagnosis is delayed until the disease is very advanced and has spread to other parts of the body. As a stark comparison, this only occurs in 20% of adult cancer cases.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death in Americans under age 20.
- The average length of treatment for children, from initial diagnosis to cure or remission, is three years.
- Among the 12 major types, Leukemias (cancer in the blood) and brain tumors account for more than half of all cases.
- The median age at diagnosis is six years old.
What to Look for
Continued, unexplained weight loss
Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs
Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
A whitish color behind the pupil
Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
Constant fatigue or noticeable paleness
Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist
Recurrent or persistent fevers of unknown origin