Osteosarcoma - Childhood and Adolescence: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu.

The symptoms of osteosarcoma depend on the bone in which the tumor developed. Children and teens with osteosarcoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, children with osteosarcoma do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Pain in a bone or joint that gets worse over time, especially if the pain interferes with sleep

  • Painless swelling

  • A noticeable mass or lump in an arm or leg

  • A broken bone with no injury to explain how it occurred

  • Stiffness or swelling of joints; this is not a common symptom

  • Back pain or a loss of bowel or bladder control. These symptoms can occur if the tumor is in the pelvis or at the base of the spine. They are uncommon early symptoms.

If you are concerned about any changes your child experiences, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your child’s health care team about symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.