Types of cancer in teenagers and young adults

Cancer in teenagers and young adults is less common compared to cancer in all age groups. Most cancers are diagnosed in people aged over 65. Although there are over 200 different types of cancer, certain cancers are more likely to affect teenagers and young people. 

Young person talking to consultant in hospital

The types of cancer seen in teenagers and young adults tend to fall into the following groups:

  • ovarian cancer (germ cell tumours)
  • testicular cancer (germ cell tumours)
  • thyroid cancer
  • bone cancer
  • soft tissue sarcoma
  • leukaemia
  • lymphoma
  • brain tumours (which are sometimes benign).

There are fewer of the types of cancer seen in younger children, and more of the types of cancer seen in older adults. 

The most common cancers in this age group are lymphomas and carcinomas, germ cell tumours (testicular and ovarian cancers), and brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumours. 

Understanding more about the cancer you have and the treatments that may be used can often help you to cope. Your specialist will give you more detailed information, and if you have any questions it is important to ask the specialist doctor or nurse who knows your situation in detail.

Information about specific types of cancer

Find out more about the main types of cancer that affect teenagers and young adults