What is osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is the most common malignant tumor seen in children. It usually occurs in skeletal system of adolescent, especially in long bones, thighs, legs, or arms, and it may metastasize to other organs, such as lung, brain or kidney.
- Persistent local pain: It is the most common symptom seen in the early stage. Pain will gradually increase during rest, sometime it will also increase during nighttime.
- Localized masses: Bone tumor grows rapidly, causing localized skin swelling, or even ulcerative bleeding.
- Pathological fractures: Because bones are severely damaged by tumor cells, they fail to support weight or withstand external force. Even a slight pull can cause a fracture.
- Motor dysfunction: It may affect motor function due to pain or muscular and nervous system being compressed by bone tumor. Patients may limp and even fail to walk or climb stairs.
- Other symptoms: Body weight loss, poor appetite and fever. Having these symptoms does not mean that your child is diagnosed with osteosarcoma. If your child has these symptoms, please bring him/her to the pediatric hematology clinic as soon as possible. Let doctor do the detailed assessment and examination of your child.
Tissue biopsy is the most reliable method to confirm the diagnosis. Whole body bone scan and computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are needed to determine the extent of tumor invasion and to differentiate organ metastasis.
Standard treatment combined with surgery and chemotherapy. When diagnosis is confirmed, chemotherapy will be given several times to shrink the tumor. Then the tumor removal surgery will be scheduled. After the operation, several chemotherapy sessions are given according to the patient’s response. Cross-disciplinary medical teams will be formed to provide cooperative care. The duration of treatment will be adjusted for children based on their condition and reaction to treatment.
The rapid advancement of medicine has greatly improved the survival rate. It is important to seek medical attention while encountering sarcoma diagonosis to ensure better survival rate and outcome.
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