Is your child constantly complaining of joint pains? Did he suffer from a fracture of late without any apparent injury? If you can relate your child to the above situation, then it is time to give osteosarcoma a thought!
Want to know more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this dreadful osteosarcoma in children? Go ahead and give this article a read!
What Is Osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is common in children. Though osteosarcoma can occur in any bone, but the ends of the long bones of the arm and leg are prone to this cancer. Osteosarcoma affects the knee joint in most children and teenagers (1). The disease usually strikes when children experience a growth spurt during the adolescence phase. Boys are more prone to osteosarcoma than girls.
What Causes Osteosarcoma In Children?
Research is yet to ascertain the cause of this disease. However, some factors that trigger the condition include the following:
- Children who have hereditary retinoblastoma are most likely to develop Osteosarcoma.
- Children who have undergone radiotherapy are also vulnerable to this disease.
- Children who are suffering from the Li-Fraumeni syndrome are at a higher risk of developing this disease than others (2).
[ Read: Polio In Children ]
Symptoms Of Osteosarcoma In Children?
Watch out for the following osteosarcoma symptoms in children:
- Acute pain in the bone. The pain usually comes off and on and aggravates at night.
- Inflammation and soreness in the affected area.
- Also, in many cases you will come to know about the disease only after the bone breaks due to weakness.
- Severe fatigue usually accompanies this disease.
- Sudden weight loss may also be a sign of this cancer (3).
[ Read: Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer In Children ]
What Are The Stages Of Osteosarcoma?
Doctors categorize the tumour growth into the following stages depending upon the severity of the childhood osteosarcoma:
In this early stage, the cancerous growth has not spread from the original bone to nearby bones and tissue.
In this stage, the tumour has spread to the other body parts, particularly lungs.
As the name suggests, this kind of tumour keeps recurring even after treatment. It can affect the same bone where it started or any other area of the body. In most of the cases, Osteosarcoma recurs in the lungs (4).
[ Read: Signs Of Lung Cancer In Children ]
How To Treat Osteosarcoma In Kids?
The doctor may advise the following to treat osteosarcoma in child:
- Chemotherapy: Intravenous drugs help to kill or shrink the cancer cells. The treatment both precedes and succeeds the surgery. It helps eliminate any malignant cells remaining in the body post-surgery.
- Radiotherapy: The doctor may combine radiation with chemotherapy before surgery for better tumor shrinkage.
- Surgery: The doctor may remove the tumour and the surrounding tissue through a surgical process called the limb-salvage surgery. He will try to reconstruct the affected area using a bone graft or metal prostheses to ensure your child can use his arm or leg normally after the operation. As the risk of infection is high while using a graft from the bone bank, most doctors prefer to use metal prostheses after successfully removing the tumor.
If the cancer cells have spread to adjoining nerves and blood vessels, amputation may be the only option. If osteosarcoma affects the lungs, the doctor may need to perform an extensive surgery (5).
Now you know all about osteosarcoma in children. Why wait? Go ahead and enlighten other moms!
If your child suffered from this rare bone disease, then please do share your experience here. Your valuable inputs may help someone whose darling is fighting this disease.
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