Osteosarcoma : Causes and Risk Factors


Do you know that the most frequent type of cancer that develops in the bones is osteosarcoma (also known as osteogenic sarcoma)? Yes, osteosarcoma is one of the most common bone cancer.

Most osteosarcomas affect adolescents, youths, and young adults. The most prevalent age group afflicted is teenagers; however, osteosarcoma can strike at any age. To stay informed, it is crucial to know about this bone cancer’s causes and risk factors.

What is Osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is skeletal cancer that starts in the cells that produce the bones. Osteosarcoma most typically involves bony bumps, particularly the legs, but it can also affect the arms.

Osteosarcoma can grow in any bone, including the pelvic (hips), shoulder, and jawbones. It is especially true among older adults.

Based on how well the tumor cells seem under a microscope, osteosarcomas are classified as high, intermediate, or low. The tumor’s grade shows how likely it is for cancer to spread quickly and to other sections of the body.

Osteosarcomas with a High Grade

These are the osteosarcomas that grow the fastest. They don’t appear like normal bone under a microscope, and many cancer cells proliferate into new cells.

High-grade osteosarcomas come in a variety of forms:

  • Osteoblastic
  • Chondroblastic
  • Fibroblastic
  • Telangiectatic small cell

Osteosarcomas of Intermediate Severity

Periosteal osteosarcoma, for example, is a rare tumor that falls between high-grade and low-grade osteosarcomas.

Osteosarcomas of Low Grade

These are the osteosarcomas that grow the slowest. The tumors resemble normal bone and have few dividing cells when seen under a microscope.

Causes & Risk Factors

Even though the exact cause of bone cancer is uncertain, some factors may play a role in increasing or decreasing a person’s chance of having abnormal bone growths. Here are a few examples:

  • Abnormal cellular development– In a healthy person, cells divide regularly and replace older cells. They die because of this process. Normal cells form tissue lumps that turn into tumors.
  • Radiation therapy is a type of treatment that kills cancer cells. Some people who receive the treatment, however, may develop osteosarcoma.

There are several risk factors that can lead to bone cancer:

  • Having received radiation therapy previously (in the past). An effective way to treat cancer is by using radiation therapy. Large doses of radiation raise the risk of bone cancer developing in the future.
  • History of Paget’s disease (a condition that causes the bones to break down and then grow back abnormally)
  • Possessing a history of cancer in the family, particularly bone cancer. Genetic syndromes – Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary retinoblastoma are two rare genetic diseases that enhance the risk of bone cancer in families.
  • Having had multiple tumors in the cartilage, the connective tissue in the bone, having had a family history of cancer, especially bone cancer.


Doctors can use image analysis scans to pinpoint the position and size of bone tumors, as well as whether they’ve dispersed to other parts of the body. The following tests may be performed:

  • Scan of the bones
  • Tomography with a computer (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • PET is a type of X-ray that uses positron emission tomography (PET).
  • Biopsies with a needle or surgical biopsies.

Treatment of Osteosarcoma

Different bone cancer reacts to different treatments, and your doctor can help you decide which is best for you. Medications may be administered to some people first (if they have initial stages of osteosarcoma.) Other patients will benefit from the following.

  1. Surgical removal – For almost all osteosarcoma, surgery is an important part of treatment. A tumor and a tiny part of healthy tissue are usually removed in one piece using specialized procedures. The surgeon may replace the lost bone with metal or hard plastic.
  2. In chemotherapy, powerful anti-cancer medications are administered intravenously (intravenously) through a vein.


Osteosarcoma is a common bone cancer that affects people of all ages. You’ll be able to make the greatest health decisions if you have a thorough understanding of your risk factors and diagnosis. If you feel any abrupt symptoms, try to contact your doctor right away. If you develop bone discomfort or swelling, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

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