Osteosarcoma: Healthcare companies evaluating their consumer strategy

April 2021

A type of bone cancer found mostly in children and adolescents, osteosarcoma is a cancer that develops in the lining of the bones. This type of malignancy originates from cells called osteoblasts, which can either be primary or secondary. Primary osteosarcoma is when these cells are healthy before they start to divide uncontrollably. Secondary osteosarcoma occurs when another type of cancerous cell has already been damaging the bone tissue first.

What are some symptoms? 

Patients with primary or secondary Osteosarcoma typically experience one or more painless lumps on one particular limb, as well as a possible fever and fatigue. Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that occurs in the flat bones, such as those in your arms or legs. It starts in the cells that form the bone and its tissue; these cells then multiply and form malignant tumors.

How does it spread?

Osteosarcoma can spread to other sites on the same bone, such as to another region close by, or to nearby organs where it has spread through the bloodstream (known as metastasis). It can also relapse after treatment or remain dormant for many years before returning. Ostoroscoma can spread to the lungs and cause a pulmonary metastasis, also known as Osteosarcoma of Lung.

Most people don't have any signs of osteosarcoma until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. The first sign can be bone pain, which is often worse at night or early in the morning. Bone pain may be mild or severe and may progress over time. Other common symptoms include:

What are the stages?

The stages of osteosarcoma refer to its size, whether it has spread to nearby tissues or organs and whether it has metastasized. Osteosarcoma can be classified by stage, from I to IV, with the stage indicating its extent:

Stage I tumors are confined to the bone and nearby tissues

Osteosarcoma is staged as Grade 1 if it only involves the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. Grade 2 tumors have spread to the end of the segment of bone where they start, but not to a major blood vessel. If osteosarcoma has spread beyond this area, it is called Stage II or III. The prognosis (outlook) depends on many factors including Tumor size and location , grade of Osteogenic Sarcoma, age of person and performance status.

What are the treatments?

Osteosarcoma often needs to be removed by surgery. Sometimes, the patient is given an anaesthetic or put to sleep during the operation, other times they may need a general anaesthetic. The surgeon will remove as much of the cancer as possible, and then perform a bone graft if the piece of bone that was removed is too large. While waiting for an operation and after surgery, it's common for patients to be prescribed painkillers and also antibiotics to prevent infection. Chemotherapy may also be advised if there are any signs that the cancer has spread or if there is a high risk of it spreading (for example, if it has reached all surrounding tissues).

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