The 8 Most Common Types of Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer rates have been slowly rising for the past few decades. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 10,470 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so we wanted to be sure parents know what types of cancer are most commonly diagnosed in children, and the symptoms to look out for. 

1. Leukemia orange-red ribbons

Leukemia, which is cancer of the bone marrow and blood, is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for around 28% of diagnosed cancer cases in children. The most common types of leukemia that occur in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia, which can cause bone and joint pain, fatigue, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, weight loss, fever, and weakness. Acute leukemia can grow very quickly, which is why it is important to know the symptoms, so it can be checked out and treated as soon as possible.

2. Brain and spinal cord tumors

Brain and spinal cord tumors are the second most common types of cancer that develop in children, making up around 26% of childhood cancers. Most brain tumors start in the lower parts of the brain, such as the cerebellum or brainstem, and can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, trouble walking, blurred or double vision, as well as other symptoms.

3. Neuroblastoma

This type of tumor accounts for around 6% of childhood cancers. It usually develops in infants and young children, and is rare in children older than 10. These tumors generally begin to grow in the abdomen, causing noticeable swelling, but they can start anywhere. 

4. Wilms tumorkidneys

Also called nephroblastoma, this type of tumor develops in either one or both kidneys. It is most often found in children who are around 3- or 4-years-old, and will show up as a lump in the abdomen. Other symptoms that might accompany the lump include fever, pain, nausea, and poor appetite.

5. Lymphoma

Lymphoma typically develops in immune system cells, lymph nodes, or other lymph tissues. It can also affect the bone marrow and other organs; symptoms depend on where cancer begins to grow. Symptoms can include weight loss, fever, and lumps under the skin in the neck, armpit, or groin.

6. Rhabdomyosarcoma

This type of cancer normally starts in the cells that develop in soft tissue, specifically skeletal muscles in any part of the body. It causes pain, swelling, or both, and accounts for up to 3% of childhood cancers.

7. Retinoblastoma

This is a cancer of the eye, which accounts for an estimated 2% of childhood cancers. It usually occurs in children around the age of 2, and is rarely found in children older than 6. Retinoblastoma is usually detected when a doctor shines a light on the pupil and notices that it looks unusual: the affected pupil will generally look red because of the blood vessels in the back of the eye. 

8. Bone canceran Xray of knees

Bone cancer starts in the bones of older children and teens, but can technically develop at any age. Osteosarcoma is most common in teens, and will most often be seen in areas of the body where the bones are growing quickly, such as near the end of the leg or the arms. Ewing sarcoma is a less common type found in young teens; this will usually begin in a bone or in soft tissues, normally in the pelvic bone, or the middle of the leg bone.


Treatment for childhood cancers depends on the type of cancer and the stage it is in. The good news is that, because of major advances in recent decades, 85% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more. But beating cancer includes extensive treatment, which can be extremely expensive – far too expensive for most families to afford if they don’t have health insurance, or are underinsured. 

That means it’s very important to have comprehensive healthcare coverage. But before purchasing a health insurance plan, make sure you understand what coverage it offers, and make sure it will cover all of the medications and treatment your child will need. If you’re not sure what plan is right for you, speak to an EZ agent! EZ agents are highly trained and knowledgeable and will sort through all available plans to make sure that you’re completely covered throughout the lengthy process of treating your child’s illness. 

We offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. And because we work with so many companies, and can offer all of the plans available in your area, we can find you a plan that saves you a lot of money – even hundreds of dollars – even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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