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Common Childhood Cancers

At Banner Children’s, we care for your child by drawing on the most extensive medical knowledge and clinical practices in pediatric oncology and hematology. We do this through a collaboration with the medical experts at Banner - University Medicine. As a parent, you can be confident that by choosing Banner Children’s, you’re doing the best for your child.

Pediatric cancer can have different characteristics depending on where it is found in the body. Treatment options will also vary by cancer type. Banner Children’s is equipped to treat your child, no matter what their cancer diagnosis may be.

Most Common Childhood Cancers


Leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Some forms of leukemia are more commonly found in children than adults. While the main cause of leukemia is unknown, risk factors may include genetics and environmental factors. Leukemia can be diagnosed with a physical exam, a blood test and a bone marrow test. Treatment options vary depending on the type of leukemia but can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplant.

Learn more about childhood leukemia.

Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s)

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that occurs when white blood cells, called lymphocytes, mutate and grow out of control. There are two types of lymphomas: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. The main differences between the two are how they spread and react to treatments. While the main cause is unknown, the condition relates to the immune system. Many tests can be used to detect lymphomas, including a CT scan, X-ray, blood tests and biopsies. Treatment options may include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, stem cell transplant and CAR-T cell therapy.

Learn more about childhood lymphoma.

Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Brain and spinal cord tumors are caused by abnormal cells forming in the tissue. The cause of brain and spinal cord tumors is unknown. These tumors are usually found with imaging tests such as an MRI or a CT scan. If a tumor is found, your doctor may run a biopsy to determine the type of tumor and best treatment option which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and sometimes autologous stem cell transplant.


This form of cancer starts in the nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system usually in young children. Signs and symptoms of this type of tumor can differ depending on its location in the body and how far it has spread. Testing for neuroblastoma can be done with blood and urine tests, bone marrow biopsy and imaging studies to understand the extent of disease and determine the best treatment option which may include surgery, chemotherapy, autologous stem cell transplant, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. 

Wilms Tumor

Wilms tumor is a type of kidney cancer usually found in young children. While the main cause of this tumor is unknown, genetics may be part of the cause. If you notice swelling in your child’s abdomen, your pediatrician may conduct a physical exam along with imaging and blood tests to determine a diagnosis. Treatment options can depend on the stage of the cancer. Surgery to remove some or all of the kidney may be an option, as well as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Bone Cancers (Ewing Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma)

Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma are two main types of bone cancer that may develop in older children and adolescents. Your child’s oncologist will determine a diagnosis based on imaging tests and biopsies. Specific treatment options depend on the type of bone cancer diagnosed.


Rhabdomyosarcoma affects muscle tissue and can start in any part of the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma is thought to be caused by gene changes, but the main cause is unknown. Imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans can be done to diagnose rhabdomyosarcoma. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.


Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer found in the eye. This cancer is usually found in children under the age of 6. The main cause of retinoblastoma is genetic. Imaging tests such as an MRI or an ultrasound of the eye can be done to diagnose it. Surgery, radiation therapy, laser therapy and more can be done to treat retinoblastoma.

Liver Tumors (Hepatoblastoma)

Hepatoblastoma is a tumor that starts in the liver. This type of tumor is found in younger children. Liver tumors are very rare and can be diagnosed by imaging tests, biopsies and blood tests. Surgery and chemotherapy are the main treatment options.

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ cell tumors occur in the testicles and ovaries. Imaging and blood tests can help diagnose germ cell tumors to determine the best treatment plan. Treatment options may include surgery and chemotherapy.

At Banner Children’s, we are ready to meet your child’s and family’s needs today – and to see them all the way through to adulthood. We care for you as an extension of our own Banner family. We get to know you and your child, make a personalized plan of care and stay with you for every step.