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Bone tumors

Every year, approximately 15 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a bone tumor. The disease occurs mainly during puberty and more often in boys than in girls.

The brochure Bone tumors contains comprehensive information about this disease. This brochure centers on the treatment of osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma or chondrosarcoma in children. Please note this brochure is currently only available in Dutch. The most important information is provided below.


Little is known as to what causes bone tumors. Something in the DNA was probably damaged during cell division. It is unclear what causes this error. Nor do we know exactly what suddenly starts the uninhibited division of cells. Sometimes a bone tumor is the result of past radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment.


The main symptom is pain in or around the bone. The pain can be vague, but it can also be so severe that your child cannot sleep. Swelling is also common. The tumor can spread to a muscle or joint, preventing your child from making certain movements. Sometimes the bone is so weakened by the tumor that it breaks.

How are bone tumors diagnosed?

A piece of tumor tissue is removed under anesthesia and then examined under the microscope. Bones and lungs are X-rayed and various scans are performed as well. Bone marrow is extracted under sedation.


Children with a bone tumor are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Treatment consists of chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiotherapy.

Chance of recovery

The chance of recovery for children with a bone tumor depends on the location and whether there are any metastases. The tumor's response to treatment is also an important factor. If the tumor is located in one place, there is an 80-90% chance of recovery; however if there are any metastases, the chance of recovery is lower.


Children with a bone tumor are treated in the solid tumors department.