Also known as: osteogenic sarcoma.
What is osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a very common type of bone cancer that affects older children and adolescents (boys more than girls). It usually starts in the areas of long bones that are still growing, like at the ends of the thigh, shin or upper arm (it can also affect the flat bones eg. the skull or pelvis). Many times it spreads to other areas before it's diagnosed.
What causes osteosarcoma?
The exact cause is unknown, however osteosarcomas seems to occur more often in families where a cancer has been diagnosed previously; in children previously treated with radiation for other cancers and in a few children where a gene mutation has occurred.
What are the symptoms of osteosarcoma?
Bone pain at the joints is a common symptom of osteosarcoma, as well as fractures, limping, pain when moving the bones, swelling, tenderness, redness or limited range of motion.
What are osteosarcoma care options?
After a biopsy has been performed to confirm the diagnosis, chemotherapy to shrink the tumor is often the first line of treatment for osteosarcoma. After that, surgery can remove any remaining tumor that is present.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: January 13, 2021 02:30 PM
Patient Success Stories
Bria's Success Story
Bria was taken to the Cancer Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, where her family learned she had an aggressive form of bone cancer, called osteosarcoma, in her left thigh. With the care and compassion Bria and her family received at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, today this energetic third grader is showing the world how to beat the odds. Read More.
Learn more about
Sarcomas are rare kinds of cancers that affect the body’s soft tissues. They are given different names depending on the type of cell or tissue involved including muscles, tendons, bone, fat, etc.
Chemotherapy is a common form of cancer treatment. It refers to drugs that are often used to kill cancer cells and prevent them from coming back.
Radiation therapy is a common form of cancer treatment. It refers to exposing the body to beams of radiation that are used to kill cancer cells and prevent them from coming back.
A bone scan is usually used to assess pain, fractures, infection, or tumors of bone. A radioactive medicine is injected into a vein and then images are taken with a special camera, called a gamma camera.
A DEXA scan is a test that measures bone density and bone loss also called osteopenia.