Children's cancers diagnosis and treatment statistics

Surgery

Common treatment for children’s cancers, UK

Chemotherapy

Common treatment for children’s cancers, UK

Radiotherapy

Common treatment for children’s cancers, UK

Treatment for most cancers in children are surgery, chemotherapy Open a glossary item, radiotherapy, Open a glossary item and combinations of any or all of these.

Summary of treatments for selected childhood cancers

Cancer Treatment
Leukaemia Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) The main treatment is chemotherapy, often in combination with steroids. Chemotherapy is administered in three phases: induction, consolidation and maintenance. Donor stem cell or bone marrow transplantation is considered for relapsed patients or those with resistant ALL. Radiotherapy is sometimes given to prevent or treat leukaemia cells in the brain or as part of a stem cell transplant.
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) The main treatment is chemotherapy, which is administered in two phases: induction and consolidation. Donor stem cell or bone marrow transplantation is considered for relapsed patients or those with resistant AML. Radiotherapy is sometimes given as part of a stem cell transplant or to treat leukaemia cells that have spread to the brain or spinal cord.
Lymphomas Hodgkin lymphoma Stage I nodular lymphocyte-predominant tumours may be removed by surgery. For other types of Hodgkin lymphoma the main treatment is chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) There are many types of NHL and the treatment depends on the type but the main treatments are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biological therapies. Stem cell or bone marrow transplantation is considered for relapsed patients. Radiotherapy is sometimes given.
Brain and other CNS tumours Brain and CNS tumours The main treatment for most brain and CNS tumours is surgery (if feasible). If the entire tumour cannot be removed, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may be given. Radiotherapy is usually avoided in children under three years old due to the risk of damaging a still immature brain.
Neuroblastoma Localised tumours may be removed by surgery alone. Later stage or poor prognosis tumours are generally treated with chemotherapy (and sometimes radiotherapy) either before or after surgery. Stem cell transplantation may be considered. A new monoclonal antibody treatment for high risk neuroblastoma is currently being tested in clinical trials.
Retinoblastoma Smaller tumours have treatment just to the eye itself with laser therapy, freezing therapy (cryotherapy) or heat therapy (thermotherapy) to destroy the tumour. Larger tumours may be treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery to remove the eye (enucleation). A combination of treatments may be necessary.
Nephroblastoma The main treatment is surgery, which usually involves removing all of the kidney (called a nephrectomy, though partial nephrectomies are performed if there are tumours in both kidneys). Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be given before or after surgery.
Osteosarcoma The main treatment is surgery to remove the bone tumour and some surrounding tissue, although sometimes a whole limb may need to be removed (amputation). Chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery. Radiotherapy is sometimes given.
Rhabdomyosarcoma The main treatment is surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be given before or after surgery.
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Cancer Statistics Explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

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