16 Interesting Facts About Osteosarcoma In Children & Adults + Statistics

Here Are the Top 16 Interesting Facts About Osteosarcoma (OS):

#1 It is a type of cancer that produces immature bone. It is the most often diagnosed primary malignancy of bone, especially among children and adolescents.

#2 Osteosarcoma typically affects the long bones, like those in the legs and arms. In very rare cases, this type of bone cancer occurs in soft tissues outside the bone. It can metastasize to other parts of the human body, particularly to the lungs or to other bones.


#3 It most often affects teens with an average age of diagnosis at around 15 years. An estimated 1,000 new cases are reported every year in the United States. After lymphomas and brain tumors, it is the 3rd most common cancer in adolescence.

#4 Osteosarcoma accounts for 3 to 5 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in children and less than 1 percent of those in adults. In children, over 50 percent of these tumors occur in the long bones around the knee.

#5 Males are affected more than females. African-American kids have a higher risk of developing OS than Caucasians. OS is known to have a high recurrence rate, even on surgical excision and removal.


#6 Common signs of OS include:

  • limitation of motion in joints;
  • bone pain (at rest, in motion, or when lifting objects);
  • limping;
  • redness;
  • swelling;
  • bone fractures.

Life Expectancy

#7 People with localized OS have an average 5-year survival of about 80 percent. If cancer has already spread at the time of diagnosis, the 5-year survival rate is around 23 percent. In approximately 17 percent of suferrers, OS has spread by the time it is diagnosed.

#8 The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of individuals who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with any type of cancer.


#9 Osteosarcoma complications include:

  • side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy;
  • during surgery (if this procedure is necessary), it may result in damage to blood vessels, vital nerves, and surrounding structures;
  • blood loss during invasive treatment methods may be heavy;
  • deep-seated tumors may cause damage to adjoining organs and tissues;
  • damage of the following organs due to metastasis – bones, liver, and lungs.


#10 While the exact cause of OS is unknown, most medical researchers believe that it may be due to:

  • previous treatment with radiation therapy;
  • DNA mutations that occur inside the bone cells (either acquired or inherited).

#11 Based on their cause, there are 2 types of OS:

  • primary – it arises spontaneously and randomly, without any prior factors or conditions;
  • secondary – it occurs in the elderly, due to post-radiotherapy for other types of cancer, extensive bone infarcts, or malignant degeneration of Paget disease (a chronic bone disorder).

Risk Factors

#12 Risk factors for this type of bone cancer include:

  • certain inherited or genetic conditions, including – Werner syndrome (also known as adult progeria), Paget’s disease, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome (a rare condition that affects the skin, bones, eyes, and teeth), Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Bloom syndrome (an inherited disorder characterized by short stature), or hereditary retinoblastoma;
  • African-American race;
  • male sex;
  • drug therapy, especially previous treatment with alkylating agents (drugs that are used in cancer treatment which attach an alkyl group);
  • age between 10 and 30 years;
  • previous treatment with radiation therapy.


#13 Your doctor will usually diagnose osteosarcoma with:

  • a biopsy of the tumor, that will also show whether the tumor is high grade or low grade;
  • a bone scan of the body to rule out a distant spread of the disease;
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging ) – it uses radio waves, large magnets, and a computer to make detailed images of the inside of the human body;
  • CT scan – it uses a computer and a series of X-rays to make detailed images of the body;
  • x-ray – it is commonly the first diagnostic test.

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#14 It is treated with a combination of:

  • chemotherapy – this treatment method uses drugs that help shrink and kill cancerous cells. It is frequently administered before surgery. Note – OS cells are not killed easily by radiation, therefore, high doses are required to have an effect;
  • surgery – surgeons perform operations to minimize disability and maintain function, however, the goal of surgery is to remove the cancer cells. Note – limb salvage surgery vs amputation appears to have similar outcomes;
  • radiation therapy – it uses high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. Note – high-grade osteosarcomas are treated by preoperative and postoperative chemotherapy and surgery.

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Long-term Outlook

#15 Prognosis for OS greatly depends on:

  • new developments in treatment;
  • the extent of the disease;
  • the patient’s tolerance for specific procedures, medicines, or therapies;
  • the patient’s overall health and age;
  • the tumor’s response to therapy;
  • the pathologic grade of cancer;
  • the location and size of the tumor.

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#16 Avoiding radiation therapy is the best-known prevention method for this type of bone cancer. But, it is always a good idea to:

  • quit smoking tobacco;
  • quit alcohol intake or reduce as much as possible;
  • maintain a healthy weight;
  • have a regular diet rich in fruits and vegetables;
  • practice physical exercise regularly;
  • have healthy sleeping habits;
  • reduce your stress levels by practicing mindfulness meditation.

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