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Osteosarcoma

What is osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in the osteoblast cells that form the outer covering of bone. It occurs most often in children, adolescents, and young adults. Approximately 900 new cases of osteosarcoma are reported each year in the US. It occurs slightly more often in males than in females, and represents more than one-third of all bone tumors.

Osteosarcoma most commonly occurs in the long bones around the knee. Other sites for osteosarcoma include the upper leg, or thighbone, the lower leg, upper arm bone, or any bone in the body, including those in the pelvis, shoulder, and skull.

Osteosarcoma may metastasize, or spread, into nearby tissues of the foot, or into tendons or muscles. It may also metastasize through the bloodstream to other organs or bones in the body.

What causes osteosarcoma?

The exact cause of osteosarcoma is not known, but it is believed to be due to DNA mutations – either inherited or acquired after birth. Other theories and associations have been suggested as risk factors.

Treatment for osteosarcoma:

Specific treatment for osteosarcoma will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference