A sarcoma is a type of soft tissue or bone cancer

The three most common childhood sarcomas are osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.

What is sarcoma?

A sarcoma is a type of cancer and accounts for 5.5% of all cancers diagnosed in children. Sarcomas can either occur in the bones or the soft tissues in the body, such as muscles, fat, the linings of joints, or blood vessels. Although childhood sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body, children generally develop them their arms, legs, chest, or abdomen. The three most common childhood sarcomas are osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.


Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children. Tumours mostly occur in the bones on either side of the knee and in the upper arm. Symptoms may include bone pain, swelling, redness and bone fracture.

Long-term survival in children diagnosed with sarcomas has remained disproportionally poor compared to other childhood cancers and sarcomas are one of the most life-threatening cancers children may experience. Research that looks to change the way these cancers are treated is an urgent and vital component to bring a change for children with this diagnosis. Read about Bethany’s bone cancer story to learn more about how Osteosarcoma can affect children.

Dr Sibylle Mittnacht, who we’re funding to look into more effective treatments for children affected by sarcomas.

Discover about osteosarcoma

Ewing sarcoma

Ewing Sarcoma is a type of bone cancer that mainly affect legs, pelvis, arms and ribs. Symptoms of this tumour include bone pain, swelling, fever and bone fracture. Treatment of Ewing Sarcoma may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Ewings has changed our lives so much. We are thankful each and every day for our daughter. We’ve learnt to build a new life and we appreciate every little thing. We live our lives to the full and Bethan won’t let the cancer take anything from her.

Bethan’s mum. Bethan is now 7 years all clear, in high school and is doing really well.

Learn about Ewing Sarcoma


Rhabdomyosarcoma (also known as RMS) is a type of sarcoma cancer that is found in the muscle. Rhabdomyosarcoma tumours occur mostly around the head and neck.

The initial symptoms are often minor and go unnoticed. If they are missed at an early stage, it can have a big impact on chance of survival. This means that it is important to help aid earlier diagnosis for these children.

Dr Marc Tischkowitz, who we’re funding to improve the speed and timing of diagnosis for rhabdomyosarcoma.

Read about rhabdoymosarcoma

Our bone cancer awareness initiative

We’re aiming to reach all GP practices, medical students, radiology departments, muscular skeletal physiotherapists and pharmacies in the UK to provide them with the knowledge and tailored tools to identify a potential case of primary bone cancer.

Currently 27% of 0-14 year olds receive their diagnosis after attending A&E – a statistic that we simply cannot accept and are determined to change with our partners at the Bone Cancer Research Trust. Early diagnosis really can be the difference between life or death and this initiative will lead to more lives being saved.

CEO, Children with Cancer UK.

Find out about our initiative
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