Malignant bone tumours are diagnosed in about 60 children a year in the UK.

The most common types are Osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma.


Children with malignant bone tumours can have a range of symptoms at diagnosis. These may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Local tenderness, swelling or redness
  • A frature of the bone after very little trauma
  • Limp

Often pain may start as an intermittent pain that progressively becomes more persistent. Pain can often wake children from sleep and not improve with over the counter pain relief.


Osteosarcoma arises most often at the end of bones in the area where childrens bones grow. Instead, normal control of this process is lost and a swelling (tumour) occurs.

Osteosarcoma accounts for just over half of childhood bone tumours, with two thirds of childhood cases occurring in children aged 10 - 14 years.

Ewings Sarcoma

The Ewing’s family of tumours occur mainly in bone,  accounting for around third of all bone tumours in children. 

Occasionally, Ewing's Sarcoma can occur in soft tissue such as muscle or in organs such as the kidney.


​Treatment usually relies on chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Usually, surgery is required as a part of treatment.

Content reviewed July 2021