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The causes of childhood cancers aren’t fully known. There are many theories and research is being carried out to try to find out more.
Parents often worry that something they did or didn’t do may have caused their child’s cancer. This is not the case, so you shouldn’t feel guilty or that you’re to blame for your child’s illness.
It’s very rare for another child in a family to develop cancer, as most cancers aren’t caused by an inherited faulty gene.
Cancer is not infectious and can’t be passed on to anyone who comes into contact with your child.
Sometimes, two or three children in the same school or local area develop cancer. This can make people worry that something in the local area is causing the cancer. Several cases of cancer in a small area is known as a cancer cluster. Cancer clusters are carefully investigated, but are usually found to be a coincidence rather than being caused by a particular chemical or environmental change.
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
We worked with The Chilidren's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) to make sure you have the information you need about children's cancer.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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