Treatments for childhood bone cancer
If your child has bone cancer, the healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for your child. It will be based on your child’s needs and may include a combination of different treatments. When deciding which treatments to offer for childhood bone cancer, your child’s healthcare team will consider a number of factors including the type, location, stage and size of the bone tumour.
Each province in Canada has a centre with highly trained pediatric oncologists, other support staff and specialists to give the best treatments possible for your child. Childhood cancer is rare, and to provide the best therapies available to children with cancer, pediatric oncologists at Canadian hospitals participate in an organization called Children’s Oncology Group (COG). COG is responsible for finding the best ways to treat children with cancer. Through COG, pediatric oncologists receive information about new treatment protocols and improvements to existing protocols as soon as they are known.
Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma of the bone are treated differently. Other rare types of bone cancer are treated in different ways. Talk to your child’s healthcare team about treatment options for rare bone tumours.
A child with bone cancer may be offered the following treatments.
Chemotherapy is commonly used to treat childhood bone cancer. It may be given before and after surgery to remove the tumour. It may also be used to treat childhood bone cancer that has spread.
Surgery is commonly used to treat childhood bone cancer. It is used to remove the tumour, if possible, and rebuild the bone. It may also be used to remove cancer that has spread to a lung.
Radiation therapy may be used to treat childhood Ewing sarcoma of the bone. It may be used before and after surgery to remove the tumour. It may also be used instead of surgery to treat the primary tumour. It may also be used to treat Ewing sarcoma of the bone that has spread.
Radiation therapy isn’t often used to treat osteosarcoma.
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits. These visits allow your child’s healthcare team to monitor your child’s progress and recovery from treatment.
Most children with bone cancer are treated in a clinical trial that is tailored to the stage and type of cancer. Clinical trials look at new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.
Questions to ask about treatment
To make the decisions that are right for your child, ask the healthcare team questions about treatment.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.