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Bone tumours

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Bone tumours occur when abnormal cells in the bones grow in an uncontrolled way. There are 2 main types of bone tumours in children:

  • Osteosarcoma forms from cells called osteoblasts. It usually develops at the ends of the long bones, such as the arms or legs.
  • Ewing sarcoma (also called Ewing family of tumours) forms from a type of stem cell in the bone marrow. It can form in the bones of the arms, legs, hands, feet, spine, skull, ribs, shoulder blades or hips. Ewing sarcomas can also form in soft tissues near bones. These are called extraosseous or extraskeletal Ewing tumours, and are not discussed in this summary.

Osteosarcoma often develops in bones that are growing quickly, so it can be associated with the teenage growth spurt. Ewing tumours are also more common in teenagers.

Risk factors

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a certain condition or disease, such as cancer. In adults, lifestyle and environmental...

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Symptoms of osteosarcoma may include:

  • pain or swelling over a bone or joint
  • a bone that breaks for no reason.

Symptoms of Ewing...

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Your child will have a number of tests to investigate their symptoms and confirm a diagnosis of a bone tumour, including:

  • medical history and
  • ...
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Treatment and care of children with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals called a multidisciplinary team. Members of this team are...

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Diagnosis of cancer in a child is a very difficult time for the child, their family and their friends. You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious...

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Chance of cure

Many children with cancer are cured of the disease. Children’s bodies have great capacity for healing. Also, huge improvements have been made in the treatment...

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Clinical trials

Researchers are trialling new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer. Your child may be invited to be part of a clinical trial...

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More information

For more information about bone tumours, see:

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published: Sunday, 23 August, 2015