Conditions + Treatments

Childhood Cancers in Children

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While childhood cancer is a potentially life-threatening condition requiring intensive treatment, the majority of pediatric cancers are treatable. Thanks to recent advances in therapies, many forms of childhood cancer are curable using a combination of treatments, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

  • In general, childhood cancers are very rare compared to adult cancers.
  • About 10,000 to 12,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States (compared to about 1.5 million adults).
  • Children generally get different forms of cancer than adults.
  • The most common forms of pediatric cancer are leukemia, brain tumors and lymphoma.
  • In almost all cases, the cause of childhood cancer is unknown.
  • Compared with cancer in adults, many pediatric cancers are more successfully treated.

Read more childhood cancer facts

How Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center approaches childhood cancer

At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we offer the ideal setting, utilizing world-recognized cancer expertise at Dana-Farber and internationally renowned pediatric expertise at Boston Children’s. We are a top cancer center and top children’s hospital—located on the same Boston campus, connected by indoor pedestrian bridges and tunnels.

  • Your child’s care team will include pediatric oncologists, radiotherapists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, nurses and psychosocial and physical therapy specialists, among many others.
  • Our cancer team, ranked among the top in the country by U.S. News & World Report, treats children with every kind of cancer and blood disease, from the most common to the rarest.
  • We provide long-term treatment and childhood cancer survivor support through Dana-Farber’s David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic.

Read more about Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

A long history of cancer care

Treatment for children with cancer began here. More than 60 years ago, Sidney Farber, MD, a Boston Children’s pathologist, founded the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, the first pediatric cancer program in Boston. He refused to accept that childhood cancer was untreatable and his determination led to the development of chemotherapy and the first remissions of childhood leukemia

Reviewed by Brenton Mar, MD
© Boston Children's Hospital, 2013

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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