Osteosarcoma is a rare cancerous tumor within the sarcoma family of tumors. As a bone cancer, it is one of the most common types with approximately 800 new cases each year and 400 of these diagosed in children and teens. The disease is most often found in the long bones such as arms and legs, but it can occur in any bone throughout the body.
Most osteosarcomas occur in children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 30 with teens the most commonly affected age group. Osteosarcoma represents 2% of childhood cancer cases and adults comprise 10% of osteosarcoma cases.
Finding a doctor who is knowledgeable about the disease can be difficult since this type of cancer is so rare. You want to select a renowned orthopedic oncologist like Dr. Daniel C. Allison who is a recognized leader in treating osteosarcoma and other cancers that affect musculoskeletal systems. A coordinated, multi-disciplinary team lead by a specialist such as Dr. Allison offers the expertise of cancer specialists affiliated with a sophisticated medical center and access to extensive resources. Dr. Allison can be reached at (310) 730-8008 for an appointment today.Contact Us
Different Types of Osteosarcoma
In children and young adults, osteosarcoma usually develops in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the long 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). Another common site for osteosarcoma is the humerus (the part of the upper arm bone close to the shoulder). However, osteosarcoma can develop in any bone, including the bones of the pelvis (hips), shoulder, and jaw, which typically affect older adults.
There are several different subtypes of osteosarcoma which are identified by the way they look on x-rays and under the microscope. The categories are classified into grades, which specify how likely the cancer will grow and spread to other parts of the body. Treating osteosarcoma depends on the grade of the tumor and its stage. Some of these subtypes have a better prognosis (outlook) than others.
High-grade osteosarcomas are the fastest growing and typically occur in children and teens. There are many types of high-grade osteosarcomas, but the three most common are Osteoblastic, Chondroblastic, and Fibroblastic. Intermediate and low-grade osteosarcomas respond to the same treatment and are the slowest growing.
Osteosarcomas are usually found because of the symptoms they cause. Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms and in advanced cases, bones, which have become weakened by osteosarcoma, tend to fracture. For this reason, Dr. Allison as an orthopedic oncologist is exceptionally qualified to treat osteosarcoma. His knowledge of musculoskeletal structures surpasses most physicians given his experience with diseases and fractures that damage bone.
Pain and Swelling
Pain in the affected bone (usually around the knee or in the upper arm) is the most common symptom. At first, the pain could be inconstant, but worsen at night. Physical activity increases pain and it may even result in a limp if the tumor is in a leg bone.
Swelling typically doesn’t occur until several weeks after the pain starts, and occasionally, a lump or mass can be felt at the site of the swelling.
If these symptoms do not go away within a few weeks or possibly worsen, a doctor must be consulted. You want to consult with an orthopedic oncologist like Dr. Allison who has the expertise and sophisticated knowledge required in cases like this.
Although osteosarcoma might weaken the bone it develops in, the bones often do not always break. People with a fracture next to or through an osteosarcoma often describe a limb that was sore for a few months and suddenly became very painful when the fracture occurred.
The prognosis for people with osteosarcoma depends on many factors, including the location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) when it is first found, and the person’s age.
Treatment of osteosarcoma has advanced greatly. Fifty years ago, the only treatment available was amputation and only a small number of patients survived two years or more after diagnosis. Most often, both chemotherapy and surgery are needed. Chemotherapy given before and after surgery is known to cure many people with osteosarcoma and also prevent amputation.
Contact the Orthopedic Oncology Specialist
Los Angeles’s Dr. Daniel C. Allison is the ideal physician to coordinate the type of integrated medical plan osteosarcoma requires. He has the specialized expertise of an orthopedic oncologist that is essential to diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue and bone sarcomas. Dr. Allison is renowned for leading multi-disciplinary oncology teams supplemented by his extensive expertise in limb preservation, sarcoma diagnosis, and treatment. Call (310) 730-8008 today or fill out our online contact form to schedule a personal consultation.Contact An Oncology Doctor
Next, learn about Ewing’s Sarcoma.