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Childhood Osteosarcoma Diagnosis

A delay in diagnosis for childhood osteosarcoma is not uncommon because the symptoms, such as pain and swelling, can be easily mistaken for normal teenager activity.

Osteosarcoma is diagnosed by an X-ray. An MRI and CT scan are also performed to show doctors how much bone the tumor has destroyed and whether it has spread. A biopsy, a procedure to acquire a sample from the bone, will confirm the presence of cancer cells. Orthopedic oncologists at MD Anderson have expertise in surgical management of this disease.

If your child has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • The Children’s Cancer Hospital is within the No. 1 cancer center in America
  • Access to novel therapies and state-of-the-art technologies before most children’s hospitals
  • We see more types of cancer than any other children’s hospital in Texas
  • Family-centered care that actively involves parents in their child’s treatment
  • A strong cancer research program focused on developing new therapies for pediatric patients
  • Comprehensive support services such as an accredited school program, creative arts, child life and career counseling
  • An Adolescent and Young Adult Program that specializes in the unique medical and psychological needs of patients aged 15-25

Childhood Osteosarcoma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Childhood osteosarcoma is treated in our:

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Childhood Osteosarcoma Staging

(source: National Cancer Institute)

The process used to find out if cancer has spread to other parts of the body is called staging. For childhood osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), most patients are grouped according to whether cancer is found in only one part of the body or has spread.

Osteosarcoma and MFH are described as either localized or metastatic: 

Localized osteosarcoma or MFH has not spread out of the bone where the cancer started. There may be one or more areas of cancer in the bone that can be removed during surgery.

Metastatic osteosarcoma or MFH has spread from the bone in which the cancer began to other parts of the body. The cancer most often spreads to the lungs. It may also spread to other bones.

Recurrent osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) are cancers that have recurred (come back) after being treated. The cancer may come back in the bone or in other parts of the body. Osteosarcoma and MFH most often recur in the lung, bone, or both. When osteosarcoma recurs, it is usually within 18 months after treatment is completed.

If your child has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center