Robinson Osteosarcoma Fund
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that develops in bone. Like the osteoblasts in normal bone, the cells that form this cancer make bone matrix. But the bone matrix of an osteosarcoma is not as strong as that of normal bones.
Most osteosarcomas occur in children and young adults. Teens are the most commonly affected age group, but osteosarcoma can occur at any age.
In children and young adults, osteosarcoma usually develops in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the long bones. Most tumors develop in the bones around the knee, either in the distal femur (the lower part of the thigh bone) or the proximal tibia (the upper part of the shinbone). The proximal humerus (the part of the upper arm bone close to the shoulder) is the next most common site. However, osteosarcoma can develop in any bone, including the bones of the pelvis (hips), shoulder, and jaw. This is especially true in older adults.
Childhood cancer is the #1 disease killer of children, but the federally funded National Cancer Institute spends less than 4% of its budget on research for childhood cancers. That is a HUGE gap, which leaves it up to private philanthropy to make up the rest. There have been no significant advances in the treatment of osteosarcoma since the early 1980s. Our children receive chemotheraphy that hasn't changed in over a generation. The funding gap is why our children must endure out-dated and harsh treatments that may save them from the cancer, but might well leave them with life-long side-effects from the treatments. Will you help us fund research?
Survival Rates: (from Cancer.org)
With current treatment, the 5-year survival rate for people with localized osteosarcoma is in the range of 60% to 80%. These cancers are more likely to be cured if they are resectable; that is, if all of the visible tumor can be removed (resected) by surgery. (For high-grade osteosarcomas that can be resected completely, chemotherapy is still an essential part of treatment. Without it, the cancer is still very likely to come back.)
If the osteosarcoma has already spread when it is first found, the 5-year survival rate is about 15% to 30%. The survival rate is closer to 40% if the cancer has spread only to the lungs (as opposed to having reached other organs), or if all of the tumors (including metastases) can be removed with surgery.