Most childhood cancers fall into one of several specific types, as listed in the navigation links below. Common adult cancers (lung, breast, colon, and others) rarely occur in children or adolescents. Childhood cancers tend to be more aggressive than adult cancers.
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 them the best chance at both survival and a better quality of life.
Types of Childhood Cancer:
- Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer)
- Brain Cancers (and Brain Stem Tumors)
- DIPG (a type of Brain Stem cancer)
- Leukemia (Blood Cancer)
- Hepatoblastoma (Liver Cancer)
- Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
- Neuroblastoma (Nerve Cancer)
- Retinoblastoma (Eye Cancer)
- Rhabdoid Tumors
- Sarcomas (Soft Tissue Cancer)
- Spinal Cord Tumors
- Wilms Tumor (Kidney Tumors)
Cancer Symptom Infographics
You can print, download, and use these informational graphics on the common symptoms of childhood cancers.
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.
- NCI childhood cancer treatment summaries (PDQs)
- About PDQs
- 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.