Osteosarcoma in children

If your child is diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital can provide a highly specialized pediatric and adolescent bone and sarcoma treatment team, including the only two pediatric orthopedic oncology surgeons in West Michigan. The bone and sarcoma multispecialty clinic allows patients to see a team of experts in a single visit. We offer the newest therapies and technology available to diagnose and treat bone cancer. Our team is also active in research to understand this cancer better and improve treatment options, as a member of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration and Children’s Oncology Group, among others.

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Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer, often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults. Symptoms may include bone pain or a mass on an arm or leg. Chemotherapy is the main treatment, along with surgery to remove the primary tumor. Most children and teens can fully recover from osteosarcoma.

Your Child's Care Begins Here

Our pediatric and adolescent bone and sarcoma treatment team focuses on children, teenagers and young adults because kids need a different treatment approach than adults when it comes to all cancers, including osteosarcoma. We start with X-ray, MRI, diagnostic bone scan and bone biopsies. Through our multispecialty clinic, patients see a team of experts in single visit. All patients are reviewed in a multispecialty team conference that includes surgical, medical and radiation oncology, pathology, radiology and many other specialists. Each patient has a nurse navigator and leaves with a detailed verbal and written care plan—a road map for their cancer care—that has been decided on together as a team. 

When surgery is needed to remove tumors, we use the latest techniques to effectively remove the cancer. Our orthopedic oncology surgeons are also skilled at reconstructing complex areas, such as the spine and pelvis. We’re researching new combinations of chemotherapy and localized radiation to focus more specifically on the cancerous cells. 

As a pediatric member of the national Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration, we’re able to offer the latest clinical trials. We’re also researching new combinations of chemotherapy and localized radiation to focus more specifically on the cancerous cells.

Treatments We Provide

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Chemotherapy is usually given both before and after surgery. Chemotherapy kills pockets of cancer cells in the body, including those too small to show on medical scans.

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Surgery can often effectively remove bone cancer. Wherever possible, we use surgical techniques that avoid amputation and save a limb. Our orthopedic oncology surgeons safely remove the cancer and often work with other pediatric specialists (sports medicine surgeons, plastic surgeons, etc.) to reconstruct limbs to maximize function.

External Radiation Therapy / Localized Radiation
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Radiation using high-energy X-rays may be used in addition to surgery, to ensure that any remaining cancer cells have been destroyed. Localized radiation can attack specific malignant cells that may remain after surgery and has fewer side effects than conventional radiation. Radiation is used in certain, isolated cases, but chemotherapy and surgery are the main treatment strategies for bone cancer in children.