Osteosarcoma Child



Cancer happens when cells grow without control or order. They can form a tumor and also spread to other parts of the body. The cause is not known. It may be due to changes in genes.

Risk Factors

Osteosarcoma is more common in boys 10 to 19 years old.

Some things that raise the risk are:

  • Genetic problems, such as retinoblastoma and Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Past radiation therapy



Symptoms are usually in the upper and lower long bones and pelvis. They are:

  • Bone pain that may worsen with activity
  • Swelling
  • A large lump


The doctor will ask about the child’s symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Pictures may be taken that show inside the child's body. This can be done with:

  • X-rays
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Bone scan

A biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. This involves taking and testing a sample of the tumor.



The child will be referred to a team that focuses on cancer in children. The doctor will do staging tests to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment depends on the stage and site of the cancer.

Surgery may be done to remove the tumor and nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Tumors in the arms and legs may be treated with:

  • Limb-sparing surgery—removes the cancer and some tissue but saves the arm or leg.
  • Amputation—removing the cancer and all or part of the arm or leg. The doctor will try to avoid this option, if possible. Sometimes chemotherapy can help avoid it.

Sections of bone that are removed may be replaced with:

  • A bone graft—bone from another part of the body or another person
  • A machine-made device that replaces bone and matches the child's growth

Other treatment may include:

  • Chemotherapy—drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy—radiation is aimed at the tumor to kill cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy—drugs that target cancer cells—if cancer has spread or cannot be treated with surgery.

Radiation of Tumor
Radiation of Tumor
Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


There are no current methods to prevent osteosarcoma.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.