Osteosarcoma | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of osteosarcoma?

The symptoms of osteosarcoma can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor and whether it has spread. Often, an injury brings your child into a medical facility, where an X-ray may indicate suspicious bone lesions. Usually, your child does not appear to be ill. While each child may experience symptoms differently, the most common include:

  • pain (sharp or dull) at the site of the tumor
  • swelling (mass) and/or redness at the site of the tumor
  • increased pain with activity or lifting
  • limping
  • decreased movement of the affected limb

Symptoms of osteosarcoma may resemble other, more common, conditions or medical problems. If you suspect that your child has osteosarcoma, always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

What causes osteosarcoma?

In most cases, there is no clear cause for osteosarcoma. Genetics, abnormal bone metabolism, or environmental exposures play an important role in some people. Inherited conditions that increase the risk of osteosarcoma are hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, and Rothmund-Thomson, Bloom and Werner syndromes; bone diseases associated with an increased risk of osteosarcoma include Ollier's disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, and Paget's disease. Radiation therapy for other types of cancer (such as Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) increases the risk of osteosarcomas