Specialist treatment centres

Treatment for primary bone cancer is usually given in a specialist unit or a sarcoma treatment centre. Primary bone cancer is rare and there are only a few centres in the UK. You may need to travel to reach one. It might be possible to have treatment in a hospital near your home. In that case, your oncologist will work closely with the specialists at the sarcoma centre to plan your treatment.

If you’re a teenager, you may be treated in a teenage cancer unit. A parent, friend or guardian will usually be allowed to stay with you. There are education specialists who can help you stay in touch with your school work.

Children are referred to hospitals or departments that specialise in treating children. These are friendly places designed to support you and your child as much as possible. Most have facilities to allow parents to stay with their child. Play therapists and teaching staff are there to help your child cope with being in hospital.

Sarcoma treatment centres

Your treatment will usually be planned and given in a sarcoma treatment centre (sometimes called a sarcoma unit). This will either be one hospital or a group of hospitals that are close to each other and that work together. Sarcoma treatment centres specialise in treating people with primary bone tumours and soft tissue sarcomas.

Primary bone cancer is rare and there are only a small number of sarcoma treatment centres in the UK. This means you may need to travel a long distance to reach one. Sometimes it’s possible to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments at a hospital closer to home. In this case, the treatments will be planned and given by a specialist cancer doctor (oncologist) who will work closely with the doctors at the sarcoma treatment centre.

Teenage cancer units

Some hospitals have teenage cancer units (sometimes called TYA units), which are specially designed for teenagers and young adults. Other hospitals may have special wards or areas for you if you’re a teenager with cancer. There may be video games, DVDs and music to help you feel more at home.

In a teenage cancer unit you may have access to a computer so that you can do some of your school or college work if you feel well enough. There may also be education specialists who can stay in touch with your school or college and support your learning needs while you’re having treatment.

Most teenage cancer units allow someone to stay with you. This is usually your parent or guardian but can also be a partner, friend or other family member, as long as they’re over 16 and are well.

In some hospitals there isn’t a special ward for teenagers with cancer, so you are treated on an adult cancer ward. The staff on the adult cancer wards will still be able to look after you, although the wards may not have the same facilities as teenage cancer units.

Children’s cancer centres

If your child has bone cancer, they will be treated in a hospital, or a part of a hospital, that specialises in diagnosing and treating children’s cancers. These are often called principal treatment centres. These are relaxed and friendly places, and they aim to give you and your child a positive experience. You’ll probably get to know the staff well. Almost all children’s wards have facilities where parents can stay.

The hospital will also have support staff, such as play therapists. Play therapists use play to help children cope with the experience of being ill. Children’s cancer centres also have teachers, and most have education departments. The teachers at the hospital will contact the teaching staff at your child’s school to make sure they can continue their education whenever they feel well enough. It’s even possible for children to take exams in hospital if needed.

If your child leaves hospital but isn’t able to go back to school yet, tutoring can often be arranged with the local education authority. The person responsible for your child’s schooling while they are in hospital will be able to organise this for you.

Back to If you have been diagnosed

Just been diagnosed?

Just been diagnosed with cancer? We're here for you every step of the way. There are many ways we can help.

Staging and grading

Knowing the grade and stage of the cancer affects the decisions you and your doctors make about your treatment.

Treatment overview

Treatment for primary bone cancer usually involves a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The cancer registry

In the UK, each country has a cancer registry. It is used to plan and improve health and care services.