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Symptoms of Bone Tumors and Sarcoma

The signs and symptoms of bone tumors and sarcoma depend on the type of disease, where it is and how much it has grown or spread. The symptoms listed here can also be caused by other health problems that are not cancer.

Symptoms by Disease

Symptoms of bone tumors and sarcoma vary by disease.

Ewing sarcoma symptoms

Ewing sarcoma may cause these symptoms:

  • Unexplained lump with pain and swelling
  • Pain in a bone or in the pelvis, back or chest wall

Osteosarcoma symptoms

Osteosarcoma may cause these symptoms:

  • Bone or joint pain that gets worse
  • Unexplained lump or swelling in the arm or leg
  • Broken bone for no known reason

Soft tissue sarcoma symptoms

Symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma can vary based on the location of the tumor. Children with rhabdomyosarcoma (sarcoma in a skeletal muscle) most often have a lump that grows quickly in their arm or leg. A tumor in or around the urinary tract can cause problems with urination. A tumor at the base of the skull can compress nerves, causing weakness or pain in the head.

Bone Tumor and Sarcoma Diagnosis

Your child's doctor will start with a thorough exam to look for signs of cancer and will ask about your child's health background. Then the doctor may suggest a number of tests to help tell the type of cancer and see whether it has spread.

If the doctor thinks that your child may have sarcoma, he will perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Your child's doctor may also want your child to have pictures taken of the inside of her body, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

These are called imaging studies, and they allow the doctor to look for tumors or areas of cancer activity.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)