About Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, and the sixth most common type of cancer in children & young adults. Although other types of cancer can eventually spread to parts of the skeleton, osteosarcoma is one of the few that actually begin in bones and sometimes spread (or metastasize) elsewhere, usually to the lungs or other bones.

Because Osteosarcoma usually develops from Osteoblasts (the cells that make growing bone), it most commonly affects teens who are experiencing a growth spurt. Boys are more likely to have Osteosarcoma than girls, and most cases of Osteosarcoma involve the knee.

Most Osteosarcomas 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.

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

The most common symptoms of Osteosarcoma are pain and swelling in the leg or arm (usually occurring after a trauma such as a sports injury or knock to the leg or arm). It occurs most often in the longer bones of the body — such as above or below the knee or in the upper arm near the shoulder. Pain may be worse during exercise or at night, and a lump or swelling may develop in the affected area up to several weeks after the pain starts. Pain that persistently wakes the person at night or pain at rest are of particular concern. In Osteosarcoma of the leg, the person may also develop an unexplained limp. In some cases, the first sign of the disease is a broken arm or leg, because the cancer has weakened the bone to make it vulnerable to a break.

For more information about Osteosarcoma, click on the links on the right.