​Osteosarcoma​


​​Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is a type of cancer which begins to develop in the bones, usually at the end of long bones. The cancer leads to the development of immature bones.

This type of cancer is most common amongst children and young adults; however it can occur at any age. It has been observed to occur more amongst females than males.

The most common symptom of osteosarcoma is prolonged pain and swelling around the bone. You may feel the pain near the knee or upper arm and shoulder. It is usually inconsistent and you may feel that the intensity of the pain increases during rest.  You may also feel the pain strengthening with increased activity.

Upon touching, you might feel a tender but firm lump on an arm or the leg, indicative of the tumour.

The tumour contributes to limited motion of the joints and consequential limping.

In rare cases, you may suffer a bone fracture due to weakening of the bone.​

​If you feel a persistent pain in a bone, that is accompanied with redness and swelling, consult a doctor immediately. Pains are also usually associated with growth spurts, when the bone is growing. You can distinguish pain caused by osteosarcoma by gauging its recurrence. A chronic pain that reappears episodically is indicative of cancer. In such cases, you can consult a specialist working with the Oncology Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital, for additional advice.

​Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so makes sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

To diagnose the probability of osteosarcoma, your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and the incidence of cancer in your family.

You will then undergo a physical examination where the doctor will examine your affected area for swelling and soreness and possible causes due to joint inflammation.

If ample evidence points towards cancer, you will be directed to take an x-ray of the area. If the x-ray reports irregularities in the bone, you will be asked to have a biopsy for confirmation.

You might also have to take a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of the area to determine how far the tumour has perpetrated the tissues. 

If you have been diagnosed with osteosarcoma you will be asked to undergo chemotherapy to destroy the maximum cancerous cells. This treatment employs the use of high energy rays or particles that kill the cancer cells.

Once the tumour has been shrunk, you will then undergo surgery to remove the tumour, without amputating the limb. The gaps created by the tumour removal are replaced with bone graft or synthetic prosthesis.

After the surgery, you will receive another round of chemotherapy to ensure complete removal of the cancer. 

In the event of cancerous spread to the circulatory or skeletal system, you might have to undertake a limb amputation surgery.  

​The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.


​​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.