Between 1981 and 1997 seven children and adolescents (5 boys and 2 girls) were treated for colorectal carcinomas in two paediatric centres. The case notes of the patients were studied to determine the presentation, clinical findings, prognosis and the differences of colorectal carcinomas in the young patients compared to adults. Carcinoma of the colon and rectum is uncommon in this age group and has a poor prognosis. The age range was 9 - 15 years, mean age 11.8 years. All segments of the large bowel were represented as sites of the primary tumour. Vague abdominal pain, vomiting and weight loss were the commonest presenting symptoms. The duration of symptoms varied from one month to twelve months (median: four months). Contrast enema was the most useful diagnostic investigation. Five patients had Dukes' stage C and two had Dukes' stage D tumour. Mucin-secreting adenocarcinoma was the commonest histological diagnosis. Five patients had complete resection, two had palliative procedures. Post-operative chemotherapy was given to six patients and two had post-operative radiotherapy.