About children’s cancer
Cancer is rare in children. Around 170 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 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.
Coping practically and emotionally
The Irish Cancer Society's Children's Fund
The Irish Cancer Society’s financial support fund for children and their families, is available to assist children on active treatment for a cancer diagnosis.
This fund is for patients under the age of 18 years, who have been diagnosed with cancer, and whose family are unable to meet a specific financial burden that has come about as a direct result of their illness.
Find out more here.
Peer-to-peer support for parents of children with cancer
Would you like to speak to a trained parent volunteer who really knows what you are going through, and understands what it is like to have a child with cancer?
All of our parent volunteers have children who have been treated for cancer in the past. This service is also available to other adult family members, such as grandparents, uncles, aunts.
To be referred to one of our trained parent volunteers please call the Irish Cancer Society Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 or by email email@example.com
Support for teachers
Cancer in the classroom
When anyone in a school community has a cancer diagnosis, education providers have an opportunity to support children and young people.
Cancer in the classroom is an Irish and English language guide for school staff who would like to support students, affected by cancer.
It is important to remember that each cancer experience is different, and each individual navigates it in his or her own way. The information can be adapted to suit both primary and secondary school staff.
Our Support Line nurses can also give advice to parents and professionals on all types of cancer, coping, supports available and more. Our Support Line is free to call on 1800 200 700
For more information
1800 200 700