Osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma are the two most common types of childhood bone cancer. They’re rare, and when caught early, treatments can be very effective.
The two most common types of primary childhood bone cancer are osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Osteosarcoma
Let’s look at what to know about childhood bone cancers, including symptoms, causes, treatments, and outlooks.
Childhood bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects your child’s bones. There are two main categories of bone cancer:
- Primary bone cancer: This category of bone cancer starts in a bone.
- Metastatic bone cancer: This category of bone cancer starts as another type of cancer and spreads to your child’s bones.
The two main types of primary childhood bone cancer are osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Osteosarcoma is more common than Ewing’s sarcoma, but both of these forms of cancer are rare.
Bone cancer diagnoses are most likely to be received by teenagers, especially during growth spurts. They’re
While osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma are bone cancers, they affect different bones. Osteosarcoma is most commonly found in your child’s arms, shoulders, and legs. Ewing’s sarcoma is most commonly found in their ribs, pelvis, legs, and spine.
Osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma can affect the same bones too. This means that some bones may be affected by either Ewing’s sarcoma or osteosarcoma.
Although osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma may affect different bones, they usually have similar symptoms. Symptoms for
- pain, which is usually the most common symptom
- swelling near your child’s bone or in their bone
- bones that break easily or without a clear cause
- a fever that can’t be explained
- a soft lump that may feel warm to the touch
Symptoms of childhood bone cancer are similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. Just because your child has these symptoms doesn’t mean they have cancer.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a healthcare professional right away to determine what’s causing your child’s symptoms.
Experts believe Ewing sarcoma may be related to rapid bone development, such as during a teen’s growth spurt. Although childhood bone cancers may cause bones to be more vulnerable to breaks and fractures, broken bones do not cause bone cancer in kids.
If the physician seeing your child thinks they may have bone cancer, they’ll conduct a series of tests to determine if that’s the case. Usually, they’ll start with a physical examination. They’ll also ask questions about when your child’s symptoms started and what symptoms they’re experiencing.
After this, the pediatrician will likely order an X-ray of the area that’s bothering your child. If they need more information and suspect that there’s a chance of bone cancer, other tests may be conducted,
- bone scans
- CT scans
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- PET scans
- blood tests, which will evaluate levels of enzymes called alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase, both of which are higher in children who have osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma
- biopsies, where tissue from the tumor is extracted and then examined under a microscope
The treatment for childhood bone cancer varies based on the type of cancer your child has and how advanced it is. Bone cancers that are localized (remaining in the location where they started) are usually easier to treat than cancers that have spread to other parts of your child’s body.
Still, treatments for childhood cancer are advancing every day. There’s hope for children who receive a diagnosis of a more aggressive form of cancer.
Some of the treatment options for childhood bone cancer
Certain factors may
- Children assigned male at birth are more likely to develop childhood bone cancer.
- White children are more likely to develop Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Black children and children of other racial groups are more likely to develop osteosarcoma than white children.
- Children with a history of retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
- Children with a family history of Li-Fraumeni syndrome are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
- Children who were treated with radiation and chemotherapy for other cancers have an increased chance of developing bone cancer.
Like other cancers, the
If it has spread to regional areas (nearby structures) or distant areas (such as their lungs or other distinct organs), survival rates decrease.
Again, cancer treatments are constantly evolving and advancing. Every year, there’s more hope for children who receive a diagnosis of bone cancer.
What are the side effects of bone cancer treatments?
Cancer treatments may also increase your child’s risk of infertility, other types of cancer, and heart issues later in life.
Does childhood bone cancer require amputation?
Years ago, amputation of affected bones was often necessary to treat childhood cancer. Today, treatment has advanced so that full limb removal isn’t usually necessary.
Do young children ever get bone cancer?
Childhood bone cancer is a serious illness, but it’s extremely rare. If your child has symptoms such as pain in their bones, it’s unlikely that they have bone cancer.
Discuss any unusual symptoms your child has with a pediatrician. When childhood bone cancer is caught early, your child’s chances of survival are high.