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What are Pediatric Bone Sarcomas?

Pediatric bone sarcomas are cancerous tumors that originate in or around the bones in children. They are most frequently found in the long bones of the extremities, but can also occur in the pelvis, ribs, and spine. There are different types of pediatric bone sarcomas and treatments vary depending on the location, severity, and type of the tumors.

Types of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

The different types of pediatric bone sarcomas include:

  • Osteosarcoma: This is the most common type of tumor that usually occurs in the thigh, shin, and arm bone. The cells of this tumor produce bone tissue.
  • Ewing’s Sarcoma: This is a highly malignant and rare bone tumor that is seen in the leg bones of children between the ages of 10 to 20 years. It is made up of small round cells of unknown origin.

Causes of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

Although the exact cause is unclear, it is possible that mutations to the DNA in the cells may cause uncontrollably growth of the tumors when triggered by certain conditions.

Risk Factors for Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

Some of the risk factors for pediatric bone sarcomas include:

  • Repeated trauma
  • Radiation therapy
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Inherited conditions such as Paget’s disease and retinoblastoma

Symptoms of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

Common signs and symptoms of pediatric bone sarcomas include:

  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fracture due to low-energy trauma
  • Swelling and redness at the site of the tumor
  • Increased pain with activity
  • Decreased mobility in the affected limb

Diagnosis of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

Diagnosis of pediatric bone sarcomas can be made by:

  • Physical Exam: This is done to carefully to evaluate signs and symptoms.
  • Imaging Studies: These include X-rays and bone scans to identify bone abnormalities, MRI scans to identify connective tissue abnormalities; CT scans, PET scans, and bone scans to evaluate the extent of the cancer spread to other parts of the body.
  • Biopsy: A sample of the tumor may be obtained and viewed under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

The treatment options for pediatric bone sarcomas include:

  • Surgery: Surgical excision is performed to remove the tumor completely or as much as possible without injury to important nerves, blood vessels, and organs.
  • Radiation Therapy: This involves the use of high-energy beams or material to destroy cancer cells that cannot be surgically removed.
  • Chemotherapy: This involves the use of special chemicals or drugs to destroy cancer cells.

Prognosis for Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

The prognosis of pediatric bone sarcomas depends on the age of the child, extent of the disease, and the tumor’s response to treatment. Early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and follow-up care are essential for the best prognosis.