Anthony Pilcher Bone Cancer Trust

Registered charity number 1099337

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Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma affects mainly adolescents between the ages of 10 and 24 but children as young have 7 have been diagnosed with it more recently. The majority of people discover they have the illness following an accident to the area where the tumour is. They can have a fall or a knock that is then looked at by a doctor and treated accordingly. Frequently the tumour is not actually discovered until various other treatments have failed to solve the problem and eventually an x-ray is carried out. As with all cancers, early diagnosis increases the chances of survival but because people are not aware of this cancer, they do not press their doctors for an x-ray to be carried out. Sometimes the cancer can be very advanced and have spread before it is diagnosed. The main areas for this cancer to spread to are other bones and the lungs. The survival rate for this type of cancer is very low compared to other cancers and the chemotherapy treatment is particularly harsh.

As this cancer is relatively rare compared to other cancers like leukaemia, breast cancer, lung cancer etc. there is not a lot of money put into investigating the causes and the treatment. The treatment has not changed greatly over the last few years and this needs to be investigated. Surgically things have improved in as much as where ever it is possible prosthesis will replace the bone that has to be removed as opposed to amputation. The latest development is that a new prosthesis is being used which eliminates the need for surgery to lengthen it as the child/adolescent continues to grow. This is a great advance as some children were having to have two operations a year during their main growth period and each operation involved at least a week in hospital followed by intensive physiotherapy sessions.

For more information about bone cancer, see the Bone Cancer Research Trust information pages.