Types of cancer

While you may never have expected to associate the word  'cancer' with your child, you and your family are not alone.

This section contains information about the most common types of cancers that affect children and young people and aims to give a general overview of each condition, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

It is not intended to be a substitute for advice from a medical professional, so it’s also important to talk to your child’s specialist about their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Cancer statistics

In the UK, around 4,000 children and young people under the age of 25 are diagnosed with cancer every year*.

In children under 15, the most common type of cancer is leukaemia which accounts for about a third of all cases in both boys and girls. A further 25% are diagnosed with brain or spinal tumours.

The most common cancer in young men aged 15-24 is testicular cancer, which accounts for more than a quarter of diagnosed cases. Other common types of cancer for young men include Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukaemia.

The most common cancers in young women aged 15-24 are melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and ovarian cancer.

*Cancer Research UK, 2017

Updated January 2015, next review due 2017.