In the UK, 11 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every day. Each year, there are more than 4,000 children and young people diagnosed with cancer. It is not as rare as many of us may think.

Childhood cancer

  • 1 in 450 children will develop cancer by the age of 14.
  • 49% of cases of childhood cancer occur in children aged 0- 4 years.
  • Survival rates of children diagnosed with cancer are improving over time with 5 year survival rates at 84%.
  • It is estimated that there are now over 35,000 childhood cancer survivors in the UK.

Childhood cancer is the number one disease cause of death of children in the UK.

It is vital to be aware of the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer as it has been proven that early diagnosis can save lives. Please take a look at the important symptoms to be aware of.


Children and young people with cancer are grouped into two main categories according to their age. The age cut offs are are a little different to those most people may expect. This is because the types of cancer that children are most likely to have differ by age.  For the purpose of childhood cancer, 

  • a child is defined as 0 to 14 years of age
  • a young person is defined as 15 and 24 year of age. 

There are 1,800 cases of childhood cancer a year in children and 2,400 cases a year in young people. 


Childhood incidence by type



Based on data from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours 2006 - 2008







Content reviewed June 2021