If your child has been diagnosed with cancer or you're worried about children's cancer, we have information and support to help.
About children’s cancer
Cancer is rare in children. Around 190 children and teenagers under the age of 16 are diagnosed each year in Ireland. Children's cancers are different to adult cancers. They often affect different parts of the body and behave differently. About 1 in every 3 cancers that affects children is leukaemia, which is a blood cancers. The most common tumours in children are brain and central nervous system tumours.
In most cases we don’t know why children get cancer. Unfortunately, there is nothing a parent can do to prevent childhood cancer, as the risk factors linked to childhood cancers are not things we can control. Read more about children’s cancers.
What are the symptoms of children’s cancer?
Although cancer is rare in children, if you’re worried about cancer or if your child has unusual changes in their body, it’s always best to talk to your doctor. Read more about symptoms of children’s cancer.
How are children’s cancers diagnosed?
Tests that can diagnose cancer in children include blood tests, scans and biopsies (taking a sample of cells from the body). The type of tests depend on which cancer is suspected. Tests are usually done in CHI Crumlin, Dublin. If a brain tumour is suspected, you may go CHI, Temple St Hospital in Dublin. Read more about tests and how children’s cancer is diagnosed.
Will my child get better?
More children than ever are surviving cancer. Treatment is better than ever and around 8 in 10 children will be completely cured. Every child is different and your child’s doctor will talk to you about the likely success of treatment.
After a children's cancer diagnosis
What happens after diagnosis?
The time after you find out your child has cancer can be overwhelming. You will meet their healthcare team to discuss and plan their treatment. Treatment may start quite soon, and you may need to stay at the hospital. We have information on what to expect and support to help you cope with your feelings.
Starting treatment is a huge change in your family’s life. We have advice on preparing for treatment, types of treatment and coping with life during treatment. Read more about treatment.
Coping practically and emotionally
While you are focused on your child and their treatment, it can be hard to deal with your own feelings and to manage practical matters. We have tips to help and information on where to get support.
After treatment your child will continue to have follow-up care. This is also a time where your family will adjust emotionally and practically as you move towards a new normal.
Our services for children and families
We have a range of free information and support services for children and families affected by cancer.
(Available to download only.)
More information about children's cancer
Signs and symptoms, risk factors of childhood cancer, and how childhood cancer is diagnosed.
Treating children's cancer
Types of treatment, side-effects and understanding medical language.
More information about coping with children's cancers
Coping with your child's diagnosis, coping emotionally and services for children with cancer.
Support for teachers
Cancer in the classroom is a video guide to help school staff to support children and young people affected by cancer.
For more information
1800 200 700