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Childhood leukaemia

Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children under 15. Over 650 children and young adults are diagnosed with leukaemia every year in the UK.

Childhood leukaemia at a glance

Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells in the blood and bone marrow.

Some types of leukaemia are acute, meaning they develop quickly. Others are chronic and develop more slowly.

Leukaemia in children is almost always acute. There are different types which affect different blood cells, and each type needs different treatment.

Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children under 15. Over 650 children and young adults are diagnosed with leukaemia every year in the UK.

Read more about what childhood leukaemia is

For support around a blood cancer diagnosis, go to our just diagnosed section.

Children with leukaemia may experience anaemia (low number of red blood cells in the blood), bruise or bleed easily and get infections which are more severe and last longer than usual.

Learn about childhood leukaemia symptoms

Your child will have tests to confirm whether they have leukaemia, and if they do, to find out more about what type it is.

More information on tests for childhood leukaemia

The treatment your child has will depend on the specific type of leukaemia and their overall health. Throughout your child’s treatment, your healthcare team will discuss the treatment options with you and ask for your opinion and preferences.

More information on treatment for childhood leukaemia

There’s a range of side effects your child may have while having treatment. Your child won’t get all, and may not even get any, of the potential side effects.

Learn more about childhood leukaemia treatment side effects

Your child’s prognosis (what’s likely to happen in the future) depends on lots of things, including the specific type of leukaemia they are being treated for.

Read more about the prognosis for childhood leukaemia

The healthcare team will look after your wellbeing as a family as well as treating your child for leukaemia.

Find more about managing your child's treatment

It's helpful to have access to practical advice on managing infection, healthy eating and emotional support for a child with leukaemia.

Read more on looking after a child with leukaemia

For young adults with leukaemia, lymphoma or any blood cancer type. Your guide to treatment, side effects, coping with emotions, friends and work or study.

Clinical trials are how we find new treatments and improve current ones. We can help you find out about clinical trials for childhood leukaemia. Even if you just want to know a bit more about childhood leukaemia research, try our Clinical Trials Support Service.

Tackling childhood leukaemia was the main area of focus for our founders and is where we have seen some of our biggest research breakthroughs.

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