Osteosarcoma

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 14, 2021 10:36 AM

Patient Success Stories

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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.

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