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LEUKEMIA is the most common form of cancer for children. The body produces lymphocytes to protect the body from infection. In leukemia, these cells do not mature properly and become too numerous in the blood and bone marrow. Leukemia may be acute or chronic. The most common type is acute lymphoblatic leukemia (ALL). There are a number of other less common acute typed which may be grouped together as acute non-lymphoblatic leukemia (ANLL). This includes myeloid leukemia (AML).

NEUROBLASTOMA is one of the most common forms of solid tumors for young children and is usually found in babies or very young children. The disease originates in the adrenal medulla or other site is the abdomen (near the adrenal gland) but can also be found in the chest, neck, pelvis, or other sites. Most patients have widespread disease at diagnosis.

RETINOBLASTOMA is a rare tumor of the eye which develops in the cells of the retina. Most patients are under 5 years old. Sometimes only one eye is affected (unilateral- retinoblastoma), but about two-fifths of patients, both eyes have the disease (bilateral-retinoblastoma). Some cases are known to be hereditary.

BRAIN TUMORS are the most common solid tumors of childhood. Some are benign, others are malignant. There are a number of different types of brain tumors. How they are classified depends on the histology and location within the brain.

The lymphatic system helps the body fight infection. There are two main types of cancer associated with the lymphatic system: HODGKIN's DISEASE and NON-HODGKIN's LYMPHOMAS (NHL). Both are rare in children under 3, and are more common in older children and adults. More boys than girls have childhood Hodgkin's disease. Childhood Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the lymphatic system.

Childhood soft tissue sarcomas account for approximately 10% of all childhood cancers. About half of all childhood soft tissues are rhabomyosarcoma, which arise from skeletal muscles. They are most common between the ages of 2 and 6. The other soft tissue sarcomas of childhood include a wide range of different histologies: fibrosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, schwannoma, soft tissue Ewing's/peripheral neutoectodermal tumors, synovial sarcoma, and many other types of cancer. These non-rhabdo sarcomas are more common in adults. There are a number of other less common types of cancer found in children. Many of these are more common in adults and only affect a small number of children. These cancers include renal carcinoma (kidneys), chondrosarcoma (cartilage), adrenocortical carcinoma, thyroid carcinoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and melanoma. There are many less common types of cancer. Some may be diagnosed without an identifiable primary site, others may have difficult histologies that are hard to categorize.


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