Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children, with about 400 children and young adults diagnosed in the United States each year, most commonly during rapid growth in the teen years. It is much easier to treat in the early stages, so prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical. Our team is experienced in diagnosing and treating this disease, and in working with children or teens and their families to provide vital support services. As Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Alliance, we are committed to providing the best possible treatment and outcomes for osteosarcoma, and age-appropriate care and support in a nurturing, nonthreatening environment. We also partner with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to ensure your child has access to all the pediatric specialty and support services needed.

What is osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that usually starts in osteoblasts, a type of bone cell that becomes new bone tissue. It is most common in the ends of long bones such as those in the arms and legs, especially near the knee. It is sometimes found in soft tissue or organs in the chest or abdomen.

What are the types of osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is generally classified as high, intermediate or low grade, depending on how likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread. Types of osteosarcoma can include:

  • Intramedullary osteosarcoma, by far the most common type, which develops in the bone cavity containing bone marrow. Subtypes are based on the type of cells that make up the tumor and can include osteoblastic, condroblastic, fibroblastic, small-cell and epithelioid.
  • Juxtacortical osteosarcoma, which develops on the outer surface of the bones or the periosteum (the dense layer of connective tissue that covers the bones).
  • Extraskeletal osteosarcoma, an extremely rare form that arises in soft tissues and is not attached to bone. This type is often linked with prior radiation therapy.

What are the risk factors Osteosarcoma?

The biggest risk factors for osteosarcoma are:

  • Age. Osteosarcoma usually develops between ages 10 and 30. It is most common during rapid growth in the teen years.
  • Race. The disease is slightly more common in African American children than Caucasian children.
  • Certain inherited bone conditions, such as Paget disease of the bone or osteochondromas, benign tumors in bone or cartilage.
  • Gender. It is more common in boys than girls.
  • Radiation treatment for another cancer, especially in very young children.

What can you do to prevent osteosarcoma?

Because the known risk factors are not preventable, there are no recommended lifestyle changes to prevent osteosarcoma.

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