Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer; it begins in the cells that make up the bones. Osteosarcoma is usually found in the long bones, often in the legs, but sometimes it also occurs in the bones of the arms. Although, it can form in any bone. It is rare for it to appear in soft tissue outside of the bone. Osteosarcoma appears in adolescents and young adults, but it can also occur in older adults and children. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy, surgery, or sometimes radiation therapy. The doctor will determine the treatment depending on where the Osteosarcoma starts, the type, size of cancer, the grade of the Osteosarcoma, and whether cancer has spread beyond the bone. Over time, innovations in the treatment of Osteosarcoma have improved the prognosis of this cancer. However, after treatment is completed, lifelong monitoring is recommended to examine the possible late effects of intense treatments.
Causes of Osteosarcoma
The cause of Osteosarcoma is not very clear, and most cases appear to occur sporadically; more, however, some factors may increase the risk.
Symptoms of Osteosarcoma
The signs of Osteosarcoma can be the following:
Swelling near a bone
Bone or joint pain
Bone injury or fracture without obvious reason
It can be confused with sports injuries, so it is always recommended to go to the doctor and avoid anything.
Previous treatment with radiotherapy
Certain inherited or genetic diseases, such as hereditary retinoblastoma, Bloom syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, Paget's disease, and Werner's syndrome
To diagnose Osteosarcoma, the specialist will perform a physical exam to understand the symptoms better. Subsequently, you will request to perform imaging tests, which may include:
Additionally, the doctor may require a biopsy sample.
Osteosarcoma is usually treated with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be an option in some cases.
Coping with Osteosarcoma
Being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma can be overwhelming, but with the right time and support, you'll find a way to deal with these feelings of distress and uncertainty.
The most important thing is to be aware that there are treatments to fight this cancer, and that many patients have recovered satisfactorily with proper treatment.
Researching about Osteosarcoma is vital to make the right decisions in conjunction with the specialist, and asking all the possible questions to clear out doubts, is essential.
Surrounding yourself with family and friends, and seeking alternative help with a therapist is helpful.
When should I visit the doctor?
If you have any of the symptoms above, you should see your Oncologist determine if more cancer screening tests are needed when early detection is done.
Opdivo (Nivolumab) is a type of immunotherapy drug approved to treat various kinds of cancers.