Dr. Beauchamp describes an osteosarcoma bone tumor.
Osteosarcoma is the most common, what we call primary bone tumor. Primary bone tumor means that it’s a tumor that began in the bone, as opposed to a secondary tumor, which means that it’s a bone tumor that came from somewhere else.
So osteosarcomas are tumors that typically arise in adolescent children. The most common scenario is a male, teenage male with a tumor around the knee. It can occur at anytime in life, but it’s more common in adolescence.
There are different forms of it. There are different subtypes of it, and the ones that occur in adults are usually related to other diseases. They usually are a little bit more aggressive, and in the old days, which was not that long ago, osteosarcoma carried with it about a 20 percent chance of a two-year survival. So it was a pretty fatal disease. We really had very little treatment options other than amputation for that disease.
Today, with the advances in drug treatments, chemotherapy, improvements in surgery, the minority of patients--probably about ten percent or even less patients--require an amputation today and our ability to cure patients is probably around 75%. So it’s made a huge difference.
About Dr. Beauchamp, M.D.:
Dr. Christopher P. Beauchamp, M.D., is an orthopedic surgery and Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He focuses specifically on musculoskeletal oncology, adult reconstructive orthopedics, bone and soft tissue sarcomas, and infected, failed joint arthroplasty.