Teens May Be More Susceptible to Some Cancers

Cancer is not something that your teens give like to talk about. Cancer is more common in adults and elderly people. But there are some types that are more likely to occur in teens. For example, younger men are more likely to have testicular cancer, than older men.

All cancers have one thing in common: cells – the building blocks of the human body. Cancer occurs when cells develop abnormally and grow in an uncontrolled way. Here are the differences between normal and cancer cells:

Normal cells

  • Reproduce themselves exactly
  • Stop reproducing at the right time
  • Stick together in the right place
  • Self destruct if they are damaged
  • Become specialized or ‘mature’

Cancer cells

  • Continue reproducing
  • Do not obey signals from other neighboring cells
  • Do not stick together
  • They don’t die if they move to another part of the body
  • Do not become specialized, but instead remain ‘mature’

Cancers that is likely to occur in teens

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. In teens, it occurs during their growth spurts. Boys are twice as likely to get osteosarcoma as girls. Osteosarcoma has a tendency to occur in people who are taller than average. Osteosarcoma is most often found in the bones around the knee but can also occur in other bones. Like other types of cancer, osteosarcoma can metastasize or move to other part of the body like lungs and other bones. In most cases, there is no known cause for osteosarcoma.

Symptoms of osteosarcoma

  • Pain and swelling in an arm or leg, sometimes accompanied by a lump.
  • Some people have more pain at night or when they exercise.

Treatment for osteosarcoma

Like most cancers, osteosarcoma usually involves chemotherapy. However, Chemotherapy may also increase the person’s risk of developing other cancers in the future. In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove the tumor. There are two forms of surgery that a doctor may perform:

Limb-salvage surgery – the bone that has cancer is removed and the limb is saved from amputation by filling the gap with a bone graft or special metal rod.

Amputation – in rare cases, a doctor may need to remove part or the entire limb to get rid of the cancer.

Most teens with osteosarcoma do recover.