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Types of Childhood Bone Cancer

  • Bone tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Bone cancers are malignant bone tumors:

    • Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer in children. It usually occurs in bones around the knee, although it can occur in any bone in the body.
    • Ewing sarcoma is the second most common bone cancer in children and typcially affects bones in the pelvis, thigh, upper arm or ribs, but it can appear in other bones or occasionally in soft tissue.
    • Chondrosarcoma occurs primarily in adults but occasionally occurs in teens. It most commonly appears in cartilage but also can occur inside the bone or on the surface of the bone.
    • Desmoid tumor is actually a benign bone tumor, because it does not metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. However, because a desmoid tumor can be invasive to surrounding tissues and difficult to control, it is treated like a bone cancer.
    • Adamantinoma is a slow-growing cancerous bone tumor that’s most often found in the shinbone (tibia) or the jawbone (mandible). Occasionally these tumors grow in the forearm, hands or feet.

    Bone cancer treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children diagnosed with bone cancer are treated through the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Our specialists — including pediatric oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists — offer a level of expertise in bone cancers rarely seen at other pediatric cancer centers. We provide the full set of options that can be used to treat bone cancers, and our specialists can help you determine which option is best for your child.