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What is Osteosarcoma?

Recognized as the most common primary malignant bone tumors in kids, osteosarcoma is a malignancy that develops in the bone cells. Also referred to as osteogenic sarcoma, the cancer usually affects the long bones, which are primarily found in the lower limbs. The cancer is predominantly found in teenagers and young adults and comparatively uncommon in infants and elderlies.

What are the symptoms that you need to look out for?

The various symptoms associated with osteosarcoma include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the bones
  • Swelling near the bone
  • Bone break or injury without any reason
  • Limited range of motion,
  • Limping
  • Pain that increases with movement
    • What causes Osteosarcoma?

      Osteosarcoma is a result of unhealthy changes in the DNA of the bone cells, which compel them to divide and grow at a very rapid pace. These unhealthy cells gradually replace all the healthy ones and gradually accumulate to form a mass or lump called a tumour.

      What are the various risk factors associated with Osteosarcoma?

      Various factors that are likely to elevate your risks of developing osteosarcoma include:

      • Radiation therapy in the past
      • Underlying bone disorders like Paget’s disease and fibrous dysplasia
      • General or inherited conditions like retinoblastoma, Bloom syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome and Werner syndrome

      Screening and diagnosis

      • Physical examination – This involves a thorough assessment of the patient’s medical history and a detailed physical exam to detect any mass or lump.
      • Imaging tests – These include imaging modalities like X-ray Computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and bone scan
      • Biopsy – Biopsy involves the collection of a sample of tissues to be examined thoroughly for any sign of malignancy. This can be done surgically or with the help of a needle


      Surgery – The goal of the surgery is to remove the tumour and the surrounding tissues that have been affected. Depending upon whether the affected limb is to be removed or not, the classified into the following types:

      • Limb sparing surgery – This involves the removal of the cancer while preserving the limb function. Whether you are a candidate for this surgery or not, is decided based on the adversity of the cancer.
      • Amputation – Limb amputation involves the removal of the affected limb along with the cancer. In such cases, prosthetic limbs

      Chemotherapy – It involves the intravenous or oral administration of certain drugs that target and kill the cancerous cells. These may be given before the surgery to shrink the tumour and make it easier to extract it, or after the surgery to target the cancerous cells that have been left intact during the surgery.

      Radiation therapy – It involves the use of high-energy radiations to target and destroy cancerous cells. In some cases, the doctors may use protons instead of radiation beams.

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