Cancer that starts in the bone occurs most often in older children and teens, but can develop at any age. The challenge is finding it early. While all cancers have varying symptoms, bone cancer often presents itself as ailments common in active kids, such as pain, bumps and bruises that may not alert parents at first.

The two main types of primary bone cancers that occur in children, include:


Osteosarcoma is most common in teens, and usually develops in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the long bones in the legs or arms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Bone fractures (breaks)
  • Bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity
  • Lump or mass that can be felt
  • Limping over time (if the tumor is in a leg bone)
  • Pain in the affected bone
  • Swelling in the area around the bone
Ewing’s Sarcoma

Ewing’s sarcoma is a less common type of bone cancer, accounting for less than one percent of all childhood cancers. Its most often diagnosed in young teens, and typically starts in the pelvic bones, chest wall or middle of the long leg bones.

Common symptoms include:

  • Lump that can feel soft or warm to the touch
  • Pain in the area of the tumor
  • Swelling

Pain that doesn’t respond to typical pain management and that lasts for a long time may be a sign of something more serious. Because bone cancers are rare, it’s important to seek treatment from a center that specializes in treating children.

Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has a specialized Bone Tumor Program dedicated to the treatment of bone cancer and soft tissue sarcomas, including a dedicated pediatric surgeon who is fellowship trained in both pediatric orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal oncology. Miller Children’s is the only children’s hospital in the region to have an in-house surgeon specializing in both areas of care.