Rare Childhood Cancers

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  • What are Rare Childhood Cancers?

    Compared with adult cancers, childhood cancers are rare and there are a number of very rare types which account for around 20-25% of all childhood cancers. Most behave like other children’s cancers, growing and spreading to other parts of the body.

    Rare Children’s Cancers are broadly categorised as follows:

    Children’s Liver Tumours

    • Hepatoblastoma (usually occurs in children under five)
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC (which is rarer and usually occurs in older children).
    • Liver cancer can be either primary (starting in the liver) or secondary (metastatic and spread from another part of the body).

    Other Rare Childhood Cancers

    Tumours that normally only occur in adults are occasionally found in children and include cancers of the digestive system, the thyroid, and the adrenal gland.

    Rare tumours which only occur in children include:

    • Pancreatoblastoma
    • Malignant rhabdoid tumours
    • Melanotic neuroectodermal tumours of infancy
    • Rare tumours in the head and neck area (Nasopharyngeal Cancer)
    • Rare hormonal/endocrine tumours (Phaeochromocytoma)
    • Rare brain tumours (Meningioma)
    • Rare skin tumours (including Melanomas)

Cancer statistics

  • 1,884

    new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in people aged 0–24 in 2022

  • 318

    cases of leukaemia will be the most commonly diagnosed

  • 3

    children & adolescents die from cancer every week

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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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