Osteosarcoma is a kind of cancer that affects the bones. It is most common when people are 10 to 30 years old. But, the risk rises again after the age of 60. A diagnosis of any kind of cancer, including osteosarcoma, is frightening. The senior and their family members may not completely understand the diagnosis and wonder what it means for the future. Knowing more about the condition can help you to plan for appropriate care.
Osteosarcoma starts in the cells that make bones. The cells in the tumor resemble cells that create new bone tissue. However, the bone that they create isn’t as strong as regular, healthy bone. In some cases, osteosarcoma can start in the soft tissues around the outside of the bone.
Osteosarcoma commonly begins in the long bones of the legs and arms. Most often, the tumors happen around the knee or in the upper part of the arm near the shoulder. Symptoms of osteosarcoma include:
- Swelling around a bone.
- Pain in the bones or joints.
- A break in a bone that happens for no apparent reason.
Causes of Osteosarcoma
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors don’t know the exact cause of osteosarcoma. However, there are risk factors that can make it more likely. Some risk factors for osteosarcoma are:
- Radiation Therapy: People who have had radiation therapy for another condition are at higher risk. They may develop osteosarcoma in the area of the body that was treated with radiation. Whether the radiation from X-rays, CT scans, and bone scans increases the risk is unknown. The radiation used for these tests is much lower than for radiation therapy.
- Bone Diseases: Some non-cancerous bone diseases increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma. Some bone diseases associated with osteosarcoma risk are Paget disease and benign osteochondromas.
The treatment for osteosarcoma depends on several factors, including the location of the tumor, whether it has spread, and how aggressive the cancer is. Some treatments commonly used include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Treatment is most effective when the cancer is caught early, before it has spread.
Treatment for osteosarcoma can be difficult and there may be side effects from chemotherapy or radiation. Senior care can help your older adult family member during the treatment and recovery period. Senior care providers can ensure the person stays hydrated to prevent dehydration, which may occur because of side effects. Senior care providers can also allow the person to rest while they handle housework and meal preparation.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Robbinsville, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.