Are osteosarcomas rare?
There are estimated to be about 750-1,000 new individuals diagnosed with osteosarcoma each year in the United States. About 450 of those are children or adolescents under the age of 20. Osteosarcoma is a rare disorder, but it is the most common cause of bone cancer in children and adolescents.
Where does osteosarcoma usually start?
In children, teens, and young adults, osteosarcoma usually starts in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the leg or arm bones: Most tumors develop in the bones around the knee, either in the lower part of the thigh bone (distal femur) or the upper part of the shinbone (proximal tibia).
What body system is affected by osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma most commonly happens 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 grow into nearby tissues, such as tendons or muscles.
How long does it take for osteosarcoma to develop?
The vast majority of osteosarcomas are so-called “random cases”, where no specific causes or predisposing risk factors can be identified. In young people, the development of the tumour appears to be in some way related to periods in life with rapid bone growth, hence the average for tumour development is 14-16 years.
What are the signs and symptoms of osteosarcoma?
At first, the pain might not be constant and might be worse at night. The pain often increases with activity and might result in a limp if the tumor is in a leg bone. Swelling in the area is another common symptom, although it might not occur until later.
Can a bone fracture be caused by osteosarcoma?
Because osteosarcoma weakens the bone, some patients may develop pathologic bone fractures in the area of the tumor. Rarely, symptoms may occur due to metastasis, or spreading, of the tumor to sites other than bone.
When do you need a bone scan for osteosarcoma?
People who have or might have osteosarcoma will have one or more of these tests. This is often the first test done if a bone tumor is suspected. Doctors can often recognize a bone tumor such as an osteosarcoma based on plain x-rays of the bone. But other imaging tests might be needed as well.
How old is the average person with osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bones. It usually affects the long bones, such as those in the arms and legs. Osteosarcoma most often affects pre-teens and teens; the average age at diagnosis is 15.