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Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma are the most common bone tumors in childhood. A very rare bone tumor is chondrosarcoma. An osteosarcoma can occur in any part of the body, but mostly in the long bones of the leg and mainly around the knee (60%). In the Netherlands, this disease is diagnosed in 7-10 children each year. This bone tumor is more common in boys than in girls (ratio of 1.6: 1). Seventy-five percent of all osteo sarcomas occur at an age between 10 and 20 years.

Symptoms of this disease

Pain is one of the first complaints. This pain is generally not related to activity or injuries. Pain at night, which wakes up your child, is also common. A second major complaint is swelling, often occurring later. In the long run, the function of the affected area may be limited and there may even be a spontaneous bone fracture due to the impairment of the bone. Metastases of this tumor are mainly found in the lungs or other bones and occur in approximately 30% of the children.

How do we make the diagnosis?

A definitive diagnosis can only be made by obtaining tumor tissue using a biopsy. We also take an X-ray and an MRI scan of the location of the tumor. In addition, in connection with any metastases, an X-ray and CT scan of the lungs and a radioactive bone scan are performed.

Treatment of osteosarcoma

In general, treatment will be a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. During surgery, a microscopic examination can be carried out of how the tumor responded to chemotherapy. This is one of the factors that determines the choice of chemotherapy after surgery. The total treatment period is about one year. The surgical treatment usually consists of an amputation of the affected arm or leg. In case of osteosarcoma of the upper leg, an operation to save the bone can be performed.