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Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It usually occurs in adolescents and young adults. While the cause is not yet known, risk factors for the cancer include such things as being a child or young adult and having had radiation treatments or chemotherapy. Symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss, and bone fractures. Treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments.

What Is Osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone. The most common type of bone cancer, it usually occurs in adolescents and young adults. In most cases, tumors appear in the bones around the knee, the upper legs, and the upper arms. Both the potential symptoms and the chance of recovery appear to be the same in children as they are in adolescents.

Causes and Risk Factors

No one knows the exact cause or causes of osteosarcoma; however, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop the condition. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a disease.
Specific osteosarcoma risk factors include:
  • Being a child or young adult
  • Having undergone radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • Having a history of Paget's disease
  • Having a family history of osteosarcoma
  • Having hereditary retinoblastoma.
(Click Causes of Bone Cancer for more information.)

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

Pain is the most common symptom of osteosarcoma. However, symptoms may vary, depending on the location and the size of the tumor.
Other common osteosarcoma symptoms include:
  • Swelling, tenderness, or stiffness in the affected area
  • Fracture
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia.
These symptoms are not sure signs of osteosarcoma. Other, less serious health problems can also cause these symptoms. People who have possible osteosarcoma symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible -- only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.
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Information on Osteosarcoma

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