Throughout the Greater Dallas Orthopaedics website and in previous blogs, we’ve discussed the topic of malignant bone tumors at a high level. In this blog, we’ll be focusing on one of the most common malignant bone tumors, osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is extremely treatable, especially given the age of those it most often affects. As a regional leader in bone tumor treatment & surgery, the staff at GDO is passionate about preparing potential patients with the greatest amount of education possible. To that end, we’ll be discussing what osteosarcoma is, how it’s treated, and what symptoms may be present that should result in a doctor visit.
Osteosarcoma is a particular type of malignant bone cancer that affects the cells responsible for new bone development. While specialists are not sure what the particular cause of osteosarcoma is, they do know that individuals who have previously received radiation treatment, have inherited conditions that affect bone health, or have suffered from other bone disorders are more likely to develop it.
Like virtually all malignant bone tumors, treatment plans are developed specifically for an individual based on the progression of the cancer and their personal medical history.
This particular type of bone cancer disproportionately arises in teenagers and young adults, but it is not uncommon to see patients outside these demographics suffering from osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is also most commonly found in long bones like the arms and legs, although it can be present in any bone. In exceedingly rare cases, it can spread from bone to soft tissue, but this is uncommon.
Identifying osteosarcoma early can prove difficult, as the symptoms are subtle, even as the tumor grows. What begins as pain in a bone or joint will progress to swelling of the same area. If left unaddressed, an individual can ultimately suffer a bone break or severe bone injury during moments of exertion.
When bone/joint pain is persistent and progresses to swelling, you should request a medical consultation immediately.
As we mentioned earlier, a treatment plan is developed to suit the unique needs of each individual patient. Despite that customization, treatment will almost always involve a combination of chemotherapy and surgery, with radiation therapy used on occasion. Factors influencing the treatment plan include the progression of the osteosarcoma, where it is located, whether it has spread beyond the bone or joint, and the age & health of the individual in question.
If left untreated for an extended period of time, it will become much more likely to metastasize, making treatment infinitely more difficult. In some patients, the progression of the osteosarcoma necessitates an amputation.
To reiterate, if you’re suffering from persistent joint or bone pain in an area that is beginning to swell, we encourage you to visit a doctor. As is the case with all bone tumors, early identification is critical to effective, minimally-invasive treatment.
If medical treatment and surgery are required, trust the team who handles more osteosarcomas than any other clinic in the region. The experts at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics are trusted by countless patients every year to treat malignant bone tumors with compassion, innovative, and effective care.