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About Cancer > Osteosarcoma & Ewing Sarcoma

Osteosarcoma & Ewing Sarcoma

Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma are both types of bone cancer most commonly occur in older children.

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma & Ewing Sarcoma

The most common symptoms, of both Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma, is pain that may initially come and go, but will become more severe over time and at night. There may also be swelling apparent around the bone.
Diagnosis often follows an incident where a child has had a minor fall or accident and broken a bone that has been weakened by the cancer. 1

Treatments of Osteosarcoma & Ewing Sarcoma
The treatment given to a child will ultimately depend on the type of cancer. Treatments can include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Surgery may also be considered, which may involve removal of a limb. Where possible children are given limb-saving surgery, this could include replacing the limb with a prosthesis or removal of only part of the limb. 1

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma occurs in around 30 children per year in the UK. Often affecting the starts and ends of long bones where new bone tissue forms it can affect any bone with the most common being in the arms and legs. There are several types of osteosarcoma including those that occur in the centre of the bone, as well as parosteal, periosteal, telangiectatic and small cell osteosarcoma. 1

About Osteosarcoma, grading and staging.

Osteosarcoma often starts at the end of long bones, where new bone tissue forms as a person grows. Any bone can be affected, but most commonly the arms, legs, knee and shoulder joints are affected. 1

Osteosarcoma once diagnosed is given a grade and a stage. The grade will refer to the appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope, giving an idea of how quickly a cancer may develop. A high-grade cancer is more likely to grow quickly. Most osteosarcomas are high-grade with the exception of periosteal osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma once diagnosed is given a grade and a stage. The grade will refer to the appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope, giving an idea of how quickly a cancer may develop. A high-grade cancer is more likely to grow quickly. Most osteosarcomas are high-grade with the exception of periosteal osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcomas are also given a stage, which will signify the side and spread of the cancer. This will often dictate the course of treatment required to treat the cancer. The stages include:

Stage 1A – the cancer is low-grade and is only found within the hard coating of the bone.

Stage 1B – the cancer is low-grade, extending outside the bone and into the soft tissue spaces that contain nerves and blood vessels.

Stage 2A – the cancer is high-grade and is completely contained within the hard coating of the bone.

Stage 2B – the cancer is high-grade and has spread outside the bone and into the surrounding soft tissue spaces. Most osteosarcomas are stage 2B.

Stage 3 – The cancer can be low or high-grade and is either found within the bone or extends outside the bone. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, or to other bones not directly connected to the bone where the cancer started.1

Incidence & Causes of Osteosarcoma

There is currently no definitive cause of Osteosarcoma and although it is known that injuries are not a cause, they are often the reason the osteosarcoma is discovered. Hereditary Retinoblastoma, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are all thought to increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma 1

The number of children in England Diagnosed between 2003 and 2012 was 334, accounting for 55% of malignant bone cancers diagnosed in that period2

Outlook / Survival of Osteosarcoma

The below is based on the five year survival rate for children who were diagnosed under the age of 15 in England.

For those diagnosed in 2008-2012 the survival rate was 63%.2

Although free of cancer, approximately 60% of childhood cancer survivors will suffer from a “late-effect” caused by the treatments used to save their lives5

Ewing Sarcoma

Incidence & Causes of Ewing Sarcoma

There is currently no definitive cause of Ewing Sarcoma, however it is thought that Ewing Sarcoma is related in some way to times of rapid bone growth. This is why more cases are found in teenagers.

The number of children in England Diagnosed between 2003 and 2012 was 225 accounting for 37% of Malignant Bone Cancers diagnosed in that period1


Outlook / Survival

The below is based on the five year survival rate for children who were diagnosed under the age of 15 in England.

For those diagnosed in 2008-2012 the survival rate was 70%.2

Although free of cancer, approximately 60% of childhood cancer survivors will suffer from a “late-effect” caused by the treatments used to save their lives 5


Kidscan Stories

After a skating injury my right leg was sore and didn't seem to get any better. I noticed a swelling but didn't think much of it. After being diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 14, I had to have 3 cycles of chemotherapy before my big surgery. My surgery was described as limb salvage and when it was explained to me I was told they might not be able to save the leg.
Read Colleen's Story >

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