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 include 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 children, teens, and young adults between the ages of 10 and 30. Patients who are 10-20 years of age account for 60% of osteosarcoma cases.
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As we close a difficult year, we reflect on lessons shared by childhood cancer patients and survivors who have faced adversity with grace, courage, and resilience. From their words, come some messages worth remembering now.St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid, Sarah Swaim, and two-time leukemia survivor shares how having support during her cancer diagnosis helped her to keep going.
Your generosity makes a difference for kids with cancer. This edition of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Research Outcomes recognizes research that is making treatments less toxic, evaluating new drugs, and working to prevent late effects. Thank you for making research possible.
Two years ago, a group of three dedicated moms rallied some dear friends to achieve what seemed like an ambitious goal to support osteosarcoma research. As you’ll see below, they knocked that one out of the park!Battle Osteosarcoma volunteers set out to raise $150,000, then raised more than $1.3 million!
Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky is a St. Baldrick’s researcher at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. He explains what sarcoma is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how research is helping kids and adults with this type of cancer.
What is sarcoma?
A sarcoma is a bumpy tumor that occurs in the connective tissues (nerves, muscles and bones) anywhere in the body.
Sarcomas are rare, especially in young children. In kids between 10 and 20, sarcomas make up about 20-25% of childhood cancer diagnoses.
Sarcomas can start off being tiny lumps that you can’t feel. They can spread through the body, or metastasize, before they grow big enough to be seen.
Want to know what it’s like to be a teenage survivor of childhood cancer? We asked 16-year-old Michael G. to share his experience, during National Cancer Survivor Month.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has always been committed to innovation. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants in the world, it will be no surprise that we fund innovative science, but our commitment extends beyond that.
As part of our strategic plan, we challenged ourselves to find new innovative ways that we could partner with donors in order to help them realize their goals and get more dollars working to find better treatments and cures. We developed our own “venture philanthropy” program, one that allows a donor, or a group working together, to target in what they want to fund with more specificity and involvement than we have ever been able to do before.
The first group to join us in this new effort was the Osteosarcoma Collaborative. Led by Michael Egge, father to Olivia (who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February 2017), and current St. Baldrick’s Foundation board chair, Katherine Lugar, the Osteosarcoma Collaborative had a clear vision about what they wanted to accomplish through their fundraising and partnership with St. Baldrick’s. They wanted to fund research that needed support to push it over the finishing line – something that was very close to being ready to be put in a clinical trial and was specific to osteosarcoma research.Michael Egge, founding member of the Osteosarcoma Collaborative, sought to raise awareness and improve treatments and outcomes for children with osteosarcoma when daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed in February 2017.
What jumps out after talking with Shane Callaghan? His positivity. In a recent interview with Shane and his dad, Casey, Shane took center stage with his upbeat, can-do attitude – in spite of a lifetime worth of medical setbacks for a kid who is only 14. Shane has faced multiple treatments for osteosarcoma, which was first diagnosed in October 2015.
The following July, Shane was declared cancer-free. But the cancer in his left leg returned in March 2018. Following his relapse, chemotherapy led to an infection that severely damaged his kidneys. While his kidneys are better, they only function at 50% and are unable to handle heavy doses of chemo. On April 1, 2019, Shane’s left leg was amputated to remove the cancer and ultimately save his life.
A Famous Kid and A Pediatric Cancer Researcher Who Learned From Him – And What Those Lessons Might Mean for Future Pediatric Cancer Treatment
It was an inspirational story that was tough to miss: Tyler Trent, Purdue student and Boilermaker superfan, battling a cancer that would prove fatal, and doing so with grace, poise, and character that belied his 20 years. His story has been told during countless television pieces, and social media posts, and even a book. Behind the scenes, though, Tyler made a decision that could potentially mean lifesaving treatment in years to come for others faced with aggressive cancers. He agreed to be treated by a team of professionals that would try a precision oncology approach, with genomics front and center, to test what could potentially work for others in the future. The medical team hoped to learn ways to minimize the long-term effects from a wide range of cancers for those who survive.
One member of the team that worked with Tyler, and got to know his family, too, was Dr. Jamie Renbarger, a six-time St. Baldrick’s Foundation shavee and Division Chief of hematology/oncology at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. During her nearly twenty years as a pediatric cancer doctor and researcher, Dr. Renbarger has learned a few things about genomics, about targeted, precision therapies – like those tried with Tyler – and about how research can lead to unexpected discoveries.Dr. Jamie Renbarger has her head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s event.
For the 11th consecutive year, Dr. Alex Huang will be shaving his head for kids’ cancer research. A pediatric oncologist and professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Angie Fowler AYA Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, he’s no stranger to the fight against childhood cancers.
In fact, as an accomplished cancer fighter who’s dedicated time – and hair! – to helping raise money for childhood cancer research, he’s the very definition of a “Rockstar Shavee”.
Dr. Alex Huang, winner of a St. Baldrick’s Innovation Award, will shave his head for an 11th time this year.
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