Rare Cancers of Childhood Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version
General Information About Rare Cancers of Childhood
- Rare cancers of childhood are cancers not usually seen in children.
Rare cancers of childhood are cancers not usually seen in children.
Cancer in children and adolescents is rare. Since 1975, the number of new cases of childhood cancer has slowly increased. Since 1975, the number of deaths from childhood cancer has decreased by more than half.
The cancers listed in this summary are so rare that most children's hospitals are likely to see less than a handful of some types in several years. Because these cancers are so rare, there is not a lot of information about what treatment works best. A child's treatment is often based on what has been learned from treating other children. Sometimes, information is available only from reports of the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of one child or a small group of children who were given the same type of treatment.
Many different cancers are listed in this summary. They are grouped by where they are found in the body.
The Rare Cancers of Childhood Treatment summary has been separated into individual summaries for each topic. Please use the lists below or the following link to find the individual summaries: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/pdq/information-summaries/pediatric-treatment.
Rare Cancers of the Head and Neck
Oral Cavity Cancer
Salivary Gland Tumors
Laryngeal Cancer and Papillomatosis
Midline Tract Cancer with NUT Gene Changes (NUT Midline Carcinoma)
See the PDQ summary on Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma with NUT Gene Changes Treatment for more information.
Rare Cancers of the Chest
See the following PDQ summaries for more information:
Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma
Cardiac (Heart) Tumors
Rare Cancers of the Abdomen
Stomach (Gastric) Cancer
Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
See the PDQ summary on Childhood Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors Treatment for more information.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
See the PDQ summary on Childhood Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment for more information.
Rare Cancers of the Reproductive and Urinary Systems
Cervical and Vaginal Cancer
Other Rare Cancers of Childhood
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndromes
See the PDQ summary on Childhood Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) Syndromes Treatment for more information.
Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
See the PDQ summary on Childhood Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Treatment for more information.
Skin Cancer (Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin)
See the following PDQ summaries for more information:
Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma
Carcinoma of Unknown Primary
To Learn More About Childhood Cancer
For more information from the National Cancer Institute about rare cancers of childhood, see the following:
For more childhood cancer information and other general cancer resources, see the following:
- About Cancer
- Childhood Cancers
- CureSearch for Children's Cancer
- Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer
- Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer
- Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents
- Cancer in Children and Adolescents
- Coping with Cancer
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Cancer
- For Survivors and Caregivers
About This PDQ Summary
Physician Data Query (PDQ) is the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) comprehensive cancer information database. The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. Most summaries come in two versions. The health professional versions have detailed information written in technical language. The patient versions are written in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Both versions have cancer information that is accurate and up to date and most versions are also available in Spanish.
PDQ is a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is the federal government’s center of biomedical research. The PDQ summaries are based on an independent review of the medical literature. They are not policy statements of the NCI or the NIH.
Purpose of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary has current information about the treatment of rare cancers of childhood. It is meant to inform and help patients, families, and caregivers. It does not give formal guidelines or recommendations for making decisions about health care.
Reviewers and Updates
Editorial Boards write the PDQ cancer information summaries and keep them up to date. These Boards are made up of experts in cancer treatment and other specialties related to cancer. The summaries are reviewed regularly and changes are made when there is new information. The date on each summary ("Updated") is the date of the most recent change.
The information in this patient summary was taken from the health professional version, which is reviewed regularly and updated as needed, by the PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board.
Clinical Trial Information
A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether one treatment is better than another. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. During treatment clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new treatment and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is better than one currently being used, the new treatment may become "standard." Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.
Permission to Use This Summary
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The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Rare Cancers of Childhood Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated <MM/DD/YYYY>. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers/patient/rare-childhood-cancers-pdq. Accessed <MM/DD/YYYY>. [PMID: 26389276]
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