Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that originates in the cells that form an individual’s bones. In rare cases, it may occur outside of the bones in soft tissue. The long bones in the legs and arms are the most common locations where osteosarcoma is found, but it can begin in any bone. Certain genetic conditions and previous radiation therapy increases an individual’s risk for developing osteosarcoma. Common symptoms of this type of cancer include joint or bone pain, breaks or injury to the bone for no apparent reason, and swelling near a bone. Osteosarcoma is diagnosed using tests such as CT scan, MRI, PET, bone scans, a needle biopsy, and a surgical biopsy. The main concern with osteosarcoma is the cancerous cells can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Once cancer has spread past its local region, successful treatment becomes more complex and challenging.
Numerous methods may be used individually or in combination to treat osteosarcoma. Learn about these now.
Chemotherapy is the method of treating cancer by using specific potent drugs to kill off rapidly multiplying malignant cells. Chemotherapy drugs have a systemic effect, or target and destroy cancerous cells throughout all parts of the body. Osteosarcomas are commonly treated using chemotherapy with surgical procedures even though most of these tumors have not yet spread upon diagnosis. The reason for this combination is this type of cancer has proven to commonly return after being treated with surgery alone. Most cases of osteosarcoma are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy prior to surgery) for ten weeks. Adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy after surgery) is also commonly used to treat osteosarcomas for up to a year following surgery. If the patient’s tumor did not respond well to the medications used in neoadjuvant chemotherapy, different drugs are used when the patient undergoes adjuvant chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy is given in the highest doses that can be safely given, the potent drugs can damage the bone marrow around the body. If this damage is extensive, the cancer patient may need growth factors as well.
Continue reading to reveal more options for treating osteosarcoma now.