Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the bones and is the most common form of bone cancer. It occurs when the cells that create new bone tissue form abnormal cells that divide without control. This causes the tumor to grow and can spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of osteosarcoma may include bone pain, swelling and tenderness, fractures, and weight loss. Treatment typically involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.


The most common symptoms of osteosarcoma are pain and swelling in the area affected by the tumor, as well as fatigue, weight loss, and fever. Some patients may experience an aching, throbbing pain that is worse at night and/or during physical activity. Other symptoms may include difficulty moving the affected area, stiffness, joint pain, and a feeling of warmth in the affected area. In advanced cases, the tumor may produce a lump in the affected area that can be seen and felt.


The exact cause of osteosarcoma is unknown, however, it is believed to be associated with certain environmental and genetic factors. Possible environmental risk factors associated with osteosarcoma include exposure to radiation, certain chemicals, and high doses of antibiotics. Possible genetic risk factors include a family history of the disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Rothmund-Thomson syndrome.

Risk factors

The risk factors for osteosarcoma are not completely understood. However, research has identified a few possible factors that may increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease. These include:

  1. Genetic mutations: Certain inherited mutations, such as those in the p53 tumor suppressor gene, may put an individual at a greater risk of developing osteosarcoma.
  2. Family history: A family history of osteosarcoma or other bone cancers may slightly increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease.
  3. Age: Osteosarcoma is mainly diagnosed in children and young adults, between 10 and 25 years of age.
  4. Gender: Osteosarcoma is more common in males than females.
  5. Race: Individuals of African descent are at a slightly higher risk of developing the disease.
  6. Radiation exposure: Exposure to certain types of radiation may increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma.
  7. Previous bone injury or surgery: Some studies have suggested that bones that have been injured or have recently undergone surgery are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.


Osteosarcoma is typically diagnosed through a combination of imaging tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, and/or bone scans, as well as a biopsy. During a biopsy, a small sample of the suspicious tissue is taken, which is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to confirm the presence of cancer cells. Depending on the results, more tests may be needed to determine the extent of the cancer.


Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the bones, usually found in teenagers and young adults. It is the most common type of bone cancer, and is typically divided into four subtypes based on the location and appearance of the tumor.

The four main subtypes of osteosarcoma are:

  1. Conventional osteosarcoma (osteoblastic): This is the most common type of osteosarcoma, and is characterized by a tumor of spindle-shaped cells in the bone core.
  2. Chondroblastic osteosarcoma: This type of osteosarcoma is marked by the presence of cartilage-producing cells within the tumor.
  3. Fibroblastic (juxtacortical) osteosarcoma: This type is similar to the conventional type, but it occurs in or near the bone surface.
  4. Telangiectatic osteosarcoma: This rare type of osteosarcoma is marked by the presence of large blood vessels within the tumor.


The treatment options for Osteosarcoma depend on a variety of factors, including the stage of the tumor, the patient’s age and overall health, and the type of tumor.

Common treatments for Osteosarcoma include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is typically used to remove the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue. Radiation therapy is used to kill remaining tumor cells, and chemotherapy is typically used to reduce the size of the tumor and destroy cancer cells.

Other treatments that may be used in combination with the above treatments include targeted therapy drugs to help improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and biological therapy to help boost the body’s immune system. In some cases, hormone therapy may be used to reduce the growth of the cancer cells.


The best way to reduce the risk of Osteosarcoma is to practice healthy, preventative habits. This includes participating in regular physical exercise to help build strong bones, eating a balanced diet, and not smoking. Additionally, it is important to limit one’s exposure to radiation, as overexposure may increase the risk of developing Osteosarcoma. People should also be mindful of family history related to Osteosarcoma, as individuals who have a first-degree relative with the disease may be at higher risk. Lastly, individuals should seek out medical help for any unexplained swelling or pain in the bones to catch the disease in its early stages.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of Osteosarcoma. Studies have shown that male patients tend to be younger, usually between 10-20 years old, while female patients tend to be slightly older and present with larger tumors in a more advanced stage at diagnosis. In terms of management, females tend to respond better to chemotherapy than males and have a higher rate of successful limb preservation. Additionally, studies have found that the survival rate for female patients with Osteosarcoma is higher than for male patients.


Nutrition plays an important role in the management of osteosarcoma. Proper nutrition can help patients maintain their strength and energy levels, as well as promote healing and fight infection. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and protein can help reduce inflammation, increase muscle mass and strengthen bones. Patients should also limit their intake of processed foods and simple sugars, which could lead to inflammation and weight gain. Additionally, adequate hydration is important to support bone health and reduce the risk of complications.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is believed to have a positive influence in preventing and managing Osteosarcoma, as it has been associated with promoting bone health. Regular physical activity helps to keep the bones, muscles, and joints strong and healthy, which can help lessen the risk of developing Osteosarcoma. In addition, physical activity can help maintain a healthy body weight, and help to strengthen the immune system, which can help protect against the development of cancer. Furthermore, physical activity has been known to increase the production of endorphins in the bloodstream, which helps to reduce pain, improve sleep quality and promote overall wellbeing. Therefore, regular physical activity is essential for individuals with Osteosarcoma to maintain their physical and mental health.

Further Reading

  1. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/780/references
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549868/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteosarcoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351052
  4. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8770.00.pdf
  5. https://biomedical-engineering-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12938-021-00860-0

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