What Is Osteosarcoma?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 1, 2014

What is osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children. It often originates in the long bones of the body that includes the thigh bone, the shinbone, or the bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, called the humerus.

While osteosarcoma frequently starts in a particular bone, it can potentially move to other sites in the body, such as the lungs and other bones. This movement, known as metastasis, often makes the disease more difficult to treat.

A type of childhood cancer, osteosarcoma is commonly found in children and adolescents. Patients who are 10-20 years of age account for 60% of osteosarcoma cases.

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What are the signs and symptoms of osteosarcoma?

  • Swelling of the bone that can cause persistent pain
  • Bone fracture that can happen all of a sudden or after minor bumps
  • A limp (if the tumor affects the leg)

How are St. Baldrick’s researchers helping to fight this type of cancer?

Dr. Jason Yustein, a St. Baldrick’s Scholar, says:

“Unfortunately, the survival outcome for [osteosarcoma] is significantly less than most other pediatric malignancies. Besides the poorer survival outcomes, these patients also have to deal with tremendous side effects due to the high-dose chemotherapy regimens and the debilitating surgeries often incorporated into their therapeutic protocols. We are trying to understand how these tumors live and grow so we can create better ways to kill the tumors and allow the patients to live long and healthy lives.”

Read more about how Dr. Yustein is defeating childhood cancer in kids with osteosarcoma.

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