Osteosarcoma - Childhood and Adolescence: Stages

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. Use the menu to see other pages.

What is cancer staging?

Staging is a way of describing where the tumor is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body.

Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the tumor's stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor recommend the best kind of treatment and can help predict a person's prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different tumors.

Doctors use the following terms to describe the stage of osteosarcoma and to recommend a treatment plan:

  • Localized. Testing shows the tumor is only in the bone where it began and in the tissue around it. The tumor has not detectably spread to other parts of the body.

  • Metastatic. The tumor has spread from the bone where it began to another part of the body. Most often, it has spread to the lungs or other bones.

  • Recurrent. Recurrent osteosarcoma is a tumor that has come back during or after treatment. It can come back in the same place where it started or in another part of the body. Osteosarcoma recurs most often in the lungs and rarely other bones. If there is a recurrence, the cancer may need to be staged again. This is called re-staging.

Source: National Cancer Institute.

Information about the cancer’s stage will help the doctor recommend a specific treatment plan. The next section in this guide is Types of Treatment. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.