What is cancer?

Cancer can be difficult to understand. It is a general term given to a large group of diseases that have uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body.

The most common types of cancer diagnosed in children are leukaemia, brain and central nervous system tumours and lymphomas.

The most common cancers in young people aged 16 to 24 years are: lymphomas, carcinomas, germ cell tumours, brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours; malignant melanoma, leukaemias, bone tumours and soft tissue sarcomas.

The most common cancer in young men is germ cell tumours (testicular cancer).
The most common cancer in young women is carcinomas (thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary).

For more information on these types of cancer, visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website www.macmillan.org.uk

Last updated November 2019.