Osteosarcoma treatment in San Diego
Osteosarcoma treatment in San Diego
Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center physicians use the most advanced treatments, including surgery, radiation and biologic therapy, to eliminate cancer while maintaining quality of life. In addition, our multidisciplinary, collaborative board of cancer specialists reviews complex care plans to ensure patients receive the best possible care from diagnosis to recovery.
Detection of osteosarcoma
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. In osteosarcoma, the bone matrix is not as strong as that of normal bones. About 1,000 children and teens are diagnosed with osteosarcoma each year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. It’s rarely diagnosed in adults, but it can occur at any age.
The cancer is most often found in the bones of the thigh, shin or upper arm.
Diagnostic testing of osteosarcoma
Scripps MD Anderson cancer specialists are experts in diagnosing and staging Ewing sarcoma to plan the best course of treatment.
The following tests and procedures may be used to diagnose or stage Ewing sarcoma:
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
A PET scan involves a type of radioactive sugar that existing cancer cells will quickly absorb so they can be identified under a special camera. It’s combined with a CT scan to give physicians the ability to view a picture of potentially cancerous areas through the PET while also seeing more detailed images from a CT scan.
Computed tomography (CT) scan
A CT scan uses X-rays to provide detail about the size, shape and location of any growth.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI uses radio waves to provide detailed images of areas inside the body and any abnormal growths.
An X-ray of the possible area of cancer can look for tumors or show if there is any spread beyond the cancer’s origin.
Bone scans can identify the presence of cells that are rapidly replicating themselves, including cancer cells. During a bone scan, radioactive dye is injected into a vein. The dye can then be detected by the scanner if it collects in the bones and is absorbed by cancer cells.
Bone marrow biopsy
Bone marrow aspiration and bone marrow biopsy involve the removal of a small piece of bone (and marrow) from the hipbones, usually using a hollow needle. A pathologist examines the samples in a lab. An excisional biopsy is performed through an incision of the skin.
Blood tests typically cannot be used to diagnose osteosarcoma, but certain blood tests may be helpful once a diagnosis has been made.
Treatment of osteosarcoma
Your Scripps MD Anderson cancer care team includes professionals from every area of oncology, including physicians, surgeons, radiation oncologists and nurses who specialize in cancer care. Learn more about how Scripps MD Anderson puts you at the center of care.
Osteosarcoma treatment options at Scripps MD Anderson
Osteosarcoma may be treated in various ways, including:
The focus of surgery for osteosarcoma is to remove the bone tumor and preserve healthy tissue and bone. These surgeries can be highly complex and may require a bone graft or other procedures. A surgical recommendation will depend on several factors, including the size and spread of the osteosarcoma, the patient’s health and age, as well as other considerations. Surgical options may include:
- Wide-local excision, which is the removal of the tumor and area of healthy tissue adjacent to the tumor.
- Limb-sparing surgery, in which the cancer is removed while saving a limb. This is most often the case for osteosarcoma cancer that has not grown into nearby vital structures.
- Amputation of the leg or arm for a tumor that is large and has spread into nerves or blood vessels. A prosthetic is fitted and physical rehabilitation is part of the post-surgery treatment plan.
External-beam radiation therapy, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and 3-D conformal radiation, may be part of a treatment plan for osteosarcoma, depending on the extent of the cancer and other factors. It may also be used to shrink a tumor before surgery. Radiation therapy may be used instead of or in combination with surgery.
Chemotherapy is commonly used before surgery and after surgery for osteosarcoma. A combination of chemotherapy drugs and doses are used. Scripps offers patients convenient access to infusion centers and physician office infusion facilities across San Diego.
Osteosarcoma treatment locations
Scripps MD Anderson diagnoses and treats osteosarcoma at numerous locations throughout San Diego County. From Chula Vista and La Jolla to Encinitas and beyond, our extensive network of Southern California cancer care centers includes:
- Four Scripps hospitals on five campuses
- Outpatient clinics
- Specialty cancer treatment centers
For details on specific centers and their services, visit cancer care locations.
Support groups, services and resources
As leaders in cancer care, we know what it takes to fight a winning battle. That’s why we equip our patients with the support and resources necessary to achieve their best possible outcome. From connecting you with support groups and services to empowering you with the latest resources and research, Scripps MD Anderson offers a comprehensive lineup to help you along every step of your cancer journey.
Cancer support groups for patients, family members and survivors
In support of our patients, survivors, their family members and the community, we host a handful of cancer support groups as well as a range of free workshops and health and wellness events on a number of topics such as:
- Expressive writing
Check the current list of support offerings or contact your oncology social worker or cancer care coordinator.
For info about other cancer support groups in the San Diego community, call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.
Support services for cancer patients
We are here for you — not only as your oncologists, but as a robust multidisciplinary team of experts who understands that your cancer journey is about much more than your medical treatment. Specifically, Scripps MD Anderson offers a variety of patient support services to ensure your physical, psychological and emotional well-being as well as resources for dealing with the logistical and financial aspects of cancer care. Our services and resources include:
- Oncology nurses and nurse navigators with extensive clinical expertise in cancer care to help guide you and your caregivers to make informed decisions and ensure your optimal care.
- Palliative care to provide an extra layer of supportive care to manage pain and relieve symptoms, offer emotional and spiritual support, and improve your quality of life.
- Oncology social workers specially trained to provide counseling, connect you with community and medical resources, assist with transportation and housing and coordinate care after discharge.
- Our registered dietitian nutritionists offer individualized nutrition support for patients whose efforts to optimize their nutrition may be affected by cancer symptoms or treatment side effects.
- Referrals and professional care from experts in psychology, psychiatry and emotional health, including individual and family counseling to help with the emotional challenges of cancer.
- Physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy services, including wound care, voice therapy and swallowing therapy, lymphedema therapy, balance and vestibular rehabilitation, yoga and more.
- Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine for patients interested in mind-body healing through acupuncture, biofeedback, herbal nutrition, massage therapy, integrative cancer care and more.
- Nondenominational spiritual care offered by our chaplains to help coordinate spiritual care with your own clergy, rabbi or spiritual advisor.
- Visiting patient services if you reside beyond San Diego and want help arranging appointments or learning more about short-term lodging.
For the full spectrum of offerings, please visit our cancer patient support services section.