About pediatric osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children and occurs most often in children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 20, often during a growth spurt. Boys are more likely to have osteosarcoma than girls, and most cases involve the knee.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Identifying the signs of pediatric osteosarcoma

  • Pain or swelling in the leg or arm — above or below the knee or in the upper arm near the shoulder.

  • Pain that is worse at night or wakes your child up

  • Limping

  • A broken arm or leg caused by bone weakening


To diagnose osteosarcoma, your child’s doctor will do an exam, take a detailed medical history and order some tests. Tests can include:


Treating osteosarcoma in children

Over the years, major advances have been made in the treatment of osteosarcoma. Treatment typically includes limb-sparing surgery and chemotherapy. Limb-sparing surgery removes the tumor but spares the remainder of the limb.

Fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders

Our UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Care specialists we offer the most advanced treatment options. Our pediatric cancer and blood disorder experts are national research leaders. We test new therapies and continue to work on therapies for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.

Search our clinical trials

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UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.


Care for your child

Receiving care from the UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Center hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant program at American Family Children’s Hospital means you have access to the knowledge and skills of many medical and support specialists for your child’s complex health diagnosis like cancer.

Meet our team

An experienced team providing your child with the care they deserve

Your child’s care is our top priority and we understand the unique needs they have. Your child’s team will include:

  • Oncologists (cancer doctors)

  • Hematologists (blood disease doctors)

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Child life specialists

  • Pain management specialists

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists

  • Radiologists and radiation technologists

  • Social workers

  • Surgeons

UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Care specialists are dedicated to diagnosing and treating all infants, children and adolescents with cancer, including osteosarcoma. 

Our pediatric oncologists are part of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, which is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation means that the doctors taking care of your child are experts in cancer treatment, research and education.

Patient and support services

You’re never alone

When your child needs hospitalization, they will be admitted to American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wis.

Child life specialists help your child and family cope with any fears and anxieties. The American Family Children's Hospital patient and family visitor guide features information about:

  • Hero beads

  • Hospital school

  • Positive Image Center

  • Restoring Hope Transplant House (for blood and bone marrow transplant)

  • Spiritual care services

  • Tyler's Place (sibling child care)

Additional resources

A child riding a tricycle in the hospital while undergoing cancer treatment

Pediatric cancer services

With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.

Learn more