The types of cancers that children get are different from the types found in adults. Childhood cancers are often the result of DNA changes that take place in cells very early in life, sometimes even before birth. Unlike many cancers in adults, childhood cancers are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.
There are exceptions, but as a rule children tend to withstand and respond better to treatment like chemotherapy. But some treatments can have long-term side effects. So children who have had treatment for cancer need to be followed carefully for the rest of their lives.
Since the 1960s, most children and teens with cancer have been treated at special centers designed for them. In these centers, teams of experts with experience in treating children provide the best chance for a cure. The team can include (besides doctors and nurses) psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, educators, and others.
In the United States, most children with cancer are treated at a children's cancer center that is a member of the Children's Oncology Group (COG). All of these centers are associated with a university or children's hospital.
Last Revised: 08/01/2012