Types of cancer

This section contains reliable and up to date information about the most common types of cancers that affect children and young people. You'll find an 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.

If your child is a teenager or young adult they may want to take a look at our About cancer information designed especially for them. 

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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

Searching online

Once your child has been diagnosed, it's very tempting to jump online and google their condition to try to find answers.

However, you need to bear in mind that what you read on the internet might not always be accurate or trustworthy. Before you start searching, read our tips for finding credible information. 

Updated November 2017, next review due 2019.