The Facts About Osteosarcoma

A cancerous tumor in a bone. Its an aggressive malignant neoplasm that arises from primitive transformed cells of mesenchymal origin (and thus a sarcoma) and produces malignant osteoid.[1]

It is most prevalent in teenagers and young adults.[3]

X ray of bone cancer in the lower femur

What Is Osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive form bone cancer affecting children, teenagers and young adults.

It is a rare form of cancer (approximately 20,000 cases per year). It’s rarity makes it less studied and less understood than other forms of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can then spread to other areas of the body.

Osteosarcoma (also called Osteogenic sarcoma) is the most common type of cancer that starts in the bones. The cancer cells in these tumors look like early forms of bone cells that normally help make new bone tissue, but the bone tissue in an Osteosarcoma is not as strong as that in normal bones.

Most Osteosarcomas occur in children, teens, and young adults. Teens are the most commonly affected age group, but Osteosarcoma can develop at any age.

In children, teens, and young adults, Osteosarcoma usually starts in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the leg or arm 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).
  • The upper arm bone close to the shoulder (proximal humerus) is the next most common site.

Still, Osteosarcoma can develop in any bone, including the bones of the pelvis (hips), shoulder, and jaw. This is especially true in older adults.

Click here to read the full American Cancer Society article.