There are 76 different types of childhood cancers [1] in total. The types of cancers affecting children are quite different from the cancers that affect teenagers and young adults (TYA).

Childhood cancers can be grouped into 12 broad categories.

These categories include: Leukaemias, brain and spinal tumours, lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas, neuroblastoma, renal tumours, bone tumours, germ cell tumours, retinoblastomas, other carcinomas and melanomas, liver tumours and others.

  • Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer in the UK forming 30% of cases.
  • Brain and spinal tumours are the second most common diagnosis forming 27% of cases.
  • Thanks to improvements in treatments for children with cancer, survival rates have improved markedly over the last 50 years. with 4 children in every five surving 5 years after diagnosis.
  • ​However, for most age groups, sadly childhood cancer is still is the most common cause of non- accidental death of children in the UK. 
  • This is why it is so important for clinicians and parents to be aware of the symptoms and signs.
  • To find out more about the different types of childhood cancers, please click on the links below.


If you are concerned that your child or a child you are treating may have cancer, please see here.

[1] Data used was calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, August 2019. Based on International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) International Incidence of Childhood Cancer, UK 2000-2011 (available from, accessed August 2019) and Public Health England (PHE) Number of newly diagnosed cancers registered among children under 15 years of age and resident in England 2001 to 2015 (available from, accessed August 2019)



Content reviewed June 2021