What is osteogenic sarcoma?
Also called osteosarcoma, osteogenic sarcoma is one of the most common types of bone cancer in children.
The disease usually occurs in the long bones, such as the arms (humerus), legs (femur/tibia), and pelvis. It rarely occurs in the jaw and fingers, but often occurs at the ends of these bones near growth plates. Osteosarcoma affects adolescents and young adults.
This cancer is also more prevalent in males than in females, possibly because of the rapid growth rate at this age. Prior to adolescence, the percentage of affected males and females is equal.
Osteogenic sarcoma cancer cells can also spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body. Most commonly, these cells spread to the lungs. However, bones, kidneys, the adrenal gland, the brain, and the heart can also be sites of metastasis.
What causes osteogenic sarcoma?
It has been suggested that repeated trauma to an area may be a risk factor for developing this type of cancer. It is uncertain whether trauma is a cause or effect of the disease. Cancer lesions in the bone can make that area of the bone weaker, thus, making injury more likely. However, repeated injuries to a certain area of the bone may lead to an increased production of osteoid tissue to repair the damaged area. The rapid production of osteoid tissue may lead to the malignancy. It is thought, most often, that injury simply brings the condition to attention and has no causal relationship.
Genetics may play an important role in developing osteosarcoma. Children and adults with other hereditary abnormalities, including exostoses (bony growths), retinoblastoma, Ollier's disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, and Paget's disease, have an increased risk for developing osteosarcoma.
This form of cancer has also been linked to exposure to ionizing irradiation associated with radiation therapy for other types of cancer (i.e., Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's disease).
What are the symptoms of osteogenic sarcoma?
The following are the most common symptoms of osteogenic sarcoma. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:
The symptoms may have been present over a short period of time or may have been occurring for six months or more. Often, an injury brings a child into a medical facility, where an x-ray may indicate suspicious bone lesions.
The symptoms of osteogenic sarcoma may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
How is osteogenic sarcoma diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination of your child, diagnostic procedures for osteogenic sarcoma may include:
Stages of Osteosarcoma:
Once osteosarcoma is found, more tests will be done to determine if the cancer cells have spread to others parts of the body. This is called staging. Currently, there is no staging system for osteosarcoma. Instead, most patients are grouped depending on whether cancer is found in only one part of the body (localized disease) or whether the cancer has spread from one part of the body to another (metastatic disease). Treatment is tailored to where the cancer is located and how far the disease has spread.
The following groups are used for osteosarcoma:
Treatment for osteogenic sarcoma:
Specific treatment for osteogenic sarcoma will be determined by your child's physician based on:
At CHOC, the most common treatments for osteosarcoma are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Treatment may also include one or more of the following:
Long-term outlook for a child with osteogenic sarcoma:
Prognosis for osteogenic sarcoma greatly depends on:
As with any cancer, prognosis and long-term survival can vary greatly from child to child. Every child is unique and treatment and prognosis is structured around the child's needs. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis. Continuous follow-up care is essential for a child diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma. Side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, as well as second malignancies, can occur in survivors of osteogenic sarcoma. New methods are continually being discovered to improve treatment and to decrease side effects.
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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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