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Osteosarcoma: Common Form of Bone Cancer

Author: Disabled World : Contact: Disabled World

Published: 2009-04-01 : (Rev. 2015-06-27)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer affecting the large bones of the arm or leg and occurs most often in younger individuals.

Main Digest

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg and occurs most often in younger individuals. It affects more males than females. In children and adolescents, tumors appear most often in the bones around the knee.

Osteogenic Sarcoma is the 6th leading cancer in children under age 15. Osteogenic Sarcoma affects 400 children under age 20 and 500 adults (most between the ages of 15-30) every year in the USA. Approximately 1/3 of the 900 will die each year, or about 300 a year.

A second peak in incidence occurs in the elderly, usually associated with an underlying bone pathology such as Paget's disease, Medullary infarct, or prior irradiation. Although about 90% of patients are able to have limb-salvage surgery, complications, such as infection, prosthetic loosening and non-union, or local tumor recurrence may cause the need for further surgery or amputation.

Alternate Names:

Osteosarcoma, Bone Carcinoma, Ewing's Sarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Osteogenic Sarcoma, Multifocal Osteosarcoma, Metastatic Osteosarcoma

Symptoms of Bone Cancer:

Many patients first complain of pain that may be worse at night, and may have been occurring for some time. If the tumor is large, it can appear as a swelling. The affected bone is not as strong as normal bones and may fracture with minor trauma (a pathological fracture).

The following may be used to diagnose the disease:

biopsy, x-rays, and/or blood tests.

Most Osteosarcoma arise from random and unpredictable errors in the DNA of growing bone cells during times of intense bone growth. There currently isn't an effective way to prevent this type of cancer. But with the proper diagnosis and treatment, most kids with osteosarcoma do recover.

If the tumor is inoperable or unresectable, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be utilized, but the prognosis remains poor.

Inoperable or unresectable osteosarcoma will likely progress locally and may spread to the lungs. Radiation is effective as a palliative measure.

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