How is osteosarcoma diagnosed?
To ensure your child receives the most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment possible, it is important to choose a doctor who specializes in pediatric bone tumors.
Learn more about our Orthopedic Tumor Program.
A bone tumor specialist will begin by getting a detailed medical and family history and performing a comprehensive physical exam. Radiographic studies are usually performed and may include x-rays, magnetic resource imaging (MRI), bone scan or a CT scan of the lungs.
The ultimate diagnosis is always based on a biopsy of the tumor and examination of the biopsy specimen. Often times, a preliminary diagnosis is available on the day of biopsy; however, it may take up to a week to get a permanent diagnosis depending on what additional studies need to be done.
Determining the stage of the tumor
After the diagnosis of osteosarcoma is made, your child’s bone tumor specialist will evaluate the extent of the disease by performing several different tests. This is known as staging. These tests may include a bone scan, a PET scan, a CT scan or an MRI. The doctor will also order blood tests. The studies are done to look for any evidence that the tumor has spread from the original site and are necessary in order to provide the most definitive treatment for the disease.