Health Advice



Consumer Health: What do you know about these 3 rare childhood cancers?

Laurel Kelly, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades, and about 10,470 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022, according to the American Cancer Society.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn about three rare types of cancers in children: retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Wilms' tumor.


Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer that begins in the retina. It is the most common form of cancer affecting the eye in children, and it may occur in one or both eyes. Retinoblastoma most commonly affects young children, but it can occur in adults.

Because retinoblastoma mostly affects infants and small children, symptoms aren't common.

Signs you may notice include:


• A white color in the pupil when light is shone in the eye, such as when someone takes a flash photograph of the child.

• Eyes that appear to be looking in different directions.

• Poor vision.

• Eye redness.


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