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Several osteosarcoma risk factors have been identified through specialized research. These risk factors are characteristics – both genetic and acquired – that are often found among individuals with osteosarcoma. Aside from those that are directly related to a patient’s age, the risk factors are typically the same for children and adults.

The most common risk factors for osteosarcoma include:

  • Being a child or teenager whose bones are going through a phase of rapid growth (some studies even suggest that children who are tall for their age may be more likely to develop osteosarcomas, as their bones are growing quickly)
  • Having an inherited syndrome, such as hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome, Bloom syndrome, Werner syndrome or Diamond-Blackfan anemia
  • Having previously undergone a course of radiation therapy for a prior bone cancer (the higher the dose of radiation, the higher the risk of developing osteosarcoma as a result)
  • Having a noncancerous bone disease, such as Paget disease or osteochondroma
  • Being male (females who develop osteosarcoma often develop it slightly earlier than males, possibly because female children often experience earlier “growth spurts”)

While osteosarcoma risk factors can be informative in a general sense, they can’t predict with certainty if a person will develop cancer. Some people develop osteosarcoma without having a single risk factor, while others never develop cancer despite being considered “high risk.” The best way for a person to determine his or her personal risk profile is to consult with a physician or oncologist.

People who are seeking additional information about osteosarcoma risk factors and treatment options can turn to the expert oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center. We can assess each patient’s unique risk profile, perform any genetic testing that is deemed appropriate and provide individualized instructions for anyone who is found to have an elevated osteosarcoma risk. No referral is required; call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to make an appointment.