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Childhood cancer isn't one disease, but many. Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but many others such as brain tumors, lymphomas, and bone tumors are also found in children. To learn about your child's condition, a good place to begin a search is with one of the comprehensive general cancer groups such as The National Cancer Institute (NCI). This federal agency provides a wide range of up-to-date information on all types of cancers, treatments, clinical trials, and more. Their publication "Young People with Cancer: A Handbook for Parents" (NIH Publication No. 01-2378) is a helpful reference tool as you begin to learn the "language" of cancer care. It includes detailed explanations of procedures and tests, a glossary, as well as tips for talking to your child about cancer, and for discussing the illness with brothers and sisters. It is also available as a PDF file on the NCI web site.

Note to Parents: While the NCI is the nation's premiere source for information on all cancers, the agency itself cautions parents to "avoid reading about adult cancer to learn about your child's prognosis." Adult cancers are very different from childhood cancers, which can have a sudden onset, few early symptoms, and have a high rate of cure.

The American Cancer Society, The Children's Cancer Society, CancerCare, and many other organizations all provides helpful starting points in addition to NCI. Many can guide you to treatment centers, support groups and other services available in your area. Visit our Links section for a list of comprehensive cancer agencies.

Since childhood cancer is not one disease, but many, it will also be helpful to contact associations and agencies created to deal with the different types of childhood cancer. These include the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Eye Cancer Network, and others.


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For more information about cancer and its treatment, call the Cancer
Therapy & Research Center Information line at 1-800-340-2872.
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