What you need to know

It is recommended that your child:

  • See a specialist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.

All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is paediatric cancer?

Paediatric or childhood cancer is any cancer diagnosed in children 0-14 years old. These cancers are different from cancers that affect adults. They are also rarer than adult cancers. The most common cancer in children is leukaemia. Other types of children's cancers include lymphoma, cancer of the bone (osteosarcoma), Ewing's sarcoma, and brain tumours.

Graphic of a child's body

Who does my child see for diagnosis and treatment of their cancer?

Children's cancers often start in different parts of the body compared with adult cancers. They look different under a microscope and can react to treatment differently. For this reason they are often treated differently.

If your GP suspects your child has a paediatric cancer, they should refer them to a paediatric oncologist.

The paediatric oncologist should:

  • Have experience treating your child's type of paediatric cancer 
  • Be an active member of a multidisciplinary team.

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests does my child need?

The tests used to diagnose a paediatric cancer depend on the cancer type. For example, if the doctor suspects lymphoma or leukaemia, the tests would include blood tests, or a biopsy of the bone marrow.

Where will my child have treatment?

Treatment for paediatric cancer is specialised and complex. It may not be available in your local area. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place to ensure your child can get the treatment they need.

Your child may be able to have treatment, such as chemotherapy closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating oncologist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your child's treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common is paediatric cancer in NSW?

Paediatric cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 236
    Children in NSW in 2012
  • 206
    Children in NSW in 2011
  • 213
    Children in NSW in 2010

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about acute leukaemia

Understanding Acute Leukaemia is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about chronic leukaemia

Understanding Chronic Leukaemia is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about bone cancer

Understanding Primary Bone Cancer is a fact sheet for people affected by cancer. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about brain cancer

Understanding Brain Tumours is a booklet for people with brain or spinal cord tumours, and their families and friends.

Cancer Council NSW