Leukemias, cancers of the blood and bone marrow, make up about 30% of childhood cancers.
What are common childhood cancers?
- Leukemias are the most common childhood cancers
- Brain/central nervous system tumors are second most common, accounting for around ¼ of childhood cancers
- Neuroblastoma usually affects infants and young children, and often starts in the belly, making up about 6% of childhood cancers
- Wilms tumors begin in a kidney (or rarely both kidneys) and usually affect children 3 to 4, accounting for around 5% of childhood cancers
- Lymphomas attack certain immune system cells, with tumors often growing on lymph nodes, tonsils, or the thymus; the two main types, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin, make up about 3% and 5% of childhood cancers respectively
- Various bone cancers tend to affect older children and teens and account for around 3% of childhood cancers
- Rhabdomyosarcoma tumors usually start in cells that grow into skeletal muscles, making up about 3% of childhood cancers
- Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer, most often affecting children around 2, and it accounts for around 2% of childhood cancers
Different childhood cancers have different risk factors, and often there isn’t much to do for prevention. As with other cancers, early detection is important. Symptoms and warning signs often look like other more common, less dangerous childhood illnesses. If you notice any, bring them to your pediatrician’s attention right away.
What are some common signs and symptoms of childhood cancers?
- A strange lump, mass, or swelling
- Paleness or lack of energy
- Sudden easy bruising
- Steady pain in one area
- Continuing unexplained fever or illness
- Headaches, often with vomiting
- Eye changes or vision problems
- Rapid weight loss
Check out these useful resources about childhood cancers: