Osteosarcoma is a growth of abnormal cells that form tumors in the bones. The tumor usually starts at the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs.
Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer in children. The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better your child's chances for recovery. However, even advanced cancer can usually be treated. Treatment may slow or stop the growth of the cancer and ease symptoms for a time. Ask your healthcare provider what you can expect with the type of cancer that your child has.
The exact cause is not known. The risk is higher if your child has other diseases of the bone. High doses of X-rays may also increase the risk of osteosarcoma. In some cases, osteosarcoma runs in families.
Bone tumors usually develop during times of rapid growth. It is most often seen in children between the ages of 10 and 20, but it can occur in younger children and adults. Osteosarcoma is more common in boys than girls.
Symptoms may include:
Tumors in the legs may cause limping, while those in the arms cause pain when lifting.
Your child's healthcare provider will do a physical exam and ask about the history of pain and swelling in your child's bones or joints. Tests might include:
You and your healthcare provider will discuss possible treatments for your child. You may also talk with a surgeon and a cancer specialist. Some things to think about when making treatment decisions are:
Possible treatments include:
Your child's treatment will also include:
After surgery, sometimes more chemotherapy is needed. Osteosarcoma may spread to the lungs. Your child will have chest CT scans to check for tumors in the lungs. Often, more than 1 treatment is used. Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with his or her healthcare provider.
Ask your healthcare provider about clinical trials that might be available to your child. Clinical trials are research studies to find new cancer treatments. It’s always your choice whether your child takes part in one or not.
If your child has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma:
It may also help if your child:
For more information, contact: