ABOUT OSTEOSARCOMA CANCER:
You might have first noticed something was wrong when you started having pain or swelling in or near one of your bones. The pain might have been worse at night or when you were exercising. These are usually the most common symptoms. Your doctor probably ordered x-rays and blood tests and suggested that you see a specialist called an orthopedic oncologist. When osteosarcoma is suspected, a biopsy is often the next step to see if there are any cancer cells in the tissue. About 90% of all osteosarcomas are located in the extremities (arms and legs) and most often in the bones around the knee.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist. The most common type of radiation treatment for osteosarcoma is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation therapy given from a machine outside the body. A radiation therapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time.
Radiation therapy for osteosarcoma is generally used only with surgery to try to avoid amputating an arm or leg since the use of radiation therapy alone is not effective against osteosarcoma cells. In fact, because of osteosarcoma’s resistance to radiation, radiation therapy is not often used in osteosarcoma. Surgery and chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment.
Recent studies have reported that survival rates of 60% to 80% are possible forosteosarcoma that hasn't spread beyond the tumor, depending on the success of the surgery.Most importantly, most people with osteosarcoma do recover. The overall survival rate for localized disease is 70 – 75%. Keep seeing yourself among this group! Visualize yourself leading the pack at the Boston Marathon! The road may seem hard at times, but with determination and persistence, you will make it.
Most people with osteosarcoma do not feel sick. Patients may have a history of pain in the affected area and may have developed a limp. Often the pain is thought to be related to muscle soreness or "growing pains," but it does not go away with rest. Many patients only see a doctor when there is some sort of injury to the area or when the tumor weakens a bone so much that it breaks (this is called a pathological fracture).