Osteosarcoma is a common form of bone cancer. This cancer usually begins in cells called osteoblasts, which make bones. This type of cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
The cause is not known. There may be a genetic link.
Osteosarcoma is more common in teenage boys.
Factors that may increase the risk of osteosarcoma include:
Genetic conditions, such as
and Li-Fraumeni syndrome
Symptoms may include: Swelling or a lump at the location of the tumor—usually affects longer bonesPain at the tumor locationDifficulty moving the affected limbLimpingDeep bone pain severe enough to wake up your childBone fractures
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your child's bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with: Blood testsBiopsy
Images may be taken of your child's bodily structures. This can be done with: X-rayBone scanCT scanMRI scan
Once cancer is found, the doctor will do staging tests to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment depends on the stage and location of the cancer. Talk with the doctor and healthcare team about the best treatment plan for your child. Options include:
is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells.
Surgery involves the removal of the tumor, nearby tissues, and nearby lymph nodes. Surgery may require
amputation of the limb
. Whenever possible, the doctor will try to remove the cancerous part of the bone without amputating. Sometimes, treatment with chemotherapy can help avoid the need for amputation.
With radiation therapy, radiation is directed at the tumor to kill the cancer cells.
Radiation of Tumor
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There is no known way to prevent this type of bone cancer.
Childhood cancer: osteosarcoma. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/cancer/cancer_osteosarcoma.html#. Updated September 2014. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Osteosarcoma in children. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1077/mainpageS1077P0.html. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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