Cancer in teens is rare. Doctors have found that teenagers have special medical, social, and emotional needs that are different from younger children with cancer. This section explains what cancer is and what types of cancer are more common for teens.
Most often, teenagers with cancer should be treated at a specialized cancer center where medical oncologists (doctors who treat cancer with medication) and pediatric oncologists (doctors who treat children with cancer) work together to plan treatment. This way, your doctors will have access to the newest treatments and will be familiar with these diseases. This is especially true for teens that have lymphoma, leukemia, or a bone tumor.
There are also teenage patients who have cancers most commonly found in adults, such as melanoma, testicular cancer, and ovarian cancer. Teens with these cancers may receive treatments that are similar to adults, but they also need to receive age-appropriate support for their social and emotional needs.
Below are the most common types of cancer in teens, ages 15 to 19. For more information on each type, select a name below.
- Hodgkin lymphoma (16%) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (8%)
- Germ cell tumors, including testicular cancer and ovarian cancer (16%)
- Central nervous system (CNS) tumors (10%)
- Thyroid cancer (7%)
- Melanoma (7%)
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (6%)
- Soft tissue sarcoma (7%)
- Osteosarcoma (5%)
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (5%)
- Ewing sarcoma (2%)
- Other cancers (12%)