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Treating Osteosarcoma: What You Should Know

by Bonnie Gordon

When many people think about cancer, they do not necessarily think that their skeletal system and bones would be affected. However, there are many different forms of cancer, including multiple types of bone cancer. One of the most common of these bone cancers is known as osteosarcoma. If you find yourself diagnosed with osteosarcoma and don't know what to do or to expect, there are numerous treatment options available for osteosarcoma that you should be aware of in order to plan for the months and years ahead to deal with and hopefully overcome your cancer diagnosis. So get to know those options and get started in your treatment process.

Surgery for Osteosarcoma

Many people assume that, if a tumor or cancer is in their bones, surgery is not an option. After all, removing an entire bone is really not an option. However, surgery is actually one of the most common treatment options for osteosarcoma.

The type of surgery and extent of the tissue removed depend on both the size of the tumor(s) and the location in the body. When osteosarcoma is found on a person's limb (arm or leg), the options vary from attempting to remove the affected tissues while saving the majority of the limb and the function of that limb all the way to full amputation. Amputation is usually the best option when a person's tumor is intertwined with nerves or blood vessels as removing the tumor without causing serious damage to those structures may be impossible. 

Surgery for tumors on or around a person's skull, spine, pelvis, or chest are more complicated to deal with but are usually treatable by removing the tumor (cancerous cells) and a small amount of the surrounding tissue that may also be affected. This border of surrounding tissue that is removed is done to prevent a small pocket of cancer cells that were not detectable at the time. 


Chemotherapy is another common treatment for osteosarcoma and is often used in conjunction with surgery to ensure that all cancer cells are eradicated from the body. Chemo is most often administered as a form of infusion therapy.

Infusion therapy means that the drugs are given to the patient directly into the vein for faster effectiveness in the body. Without chemotherapy, osteosarcoma tumors may regrow in the same or nearby locations as well as in other locations throughout the body. Using chemotherapy is the best way to ensure that surgery was successful and that any remaining microscopic cancer cells are destroyed.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect in dealing with your osteosarcoma, you can get in contact with your oncologist and get your treatments started as soon as possible. For more information about issues you may have with your skeletal system, contact a company like Idaho Arthritis Center.