17-year-old Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, and learned that he had only months left to live. As a personal way of saying goodbye to his family and friends, Zach turned to his music.
His video (above) was posted on YouTube and has received more than 2 million views – a viral hit! While he didn’t expect much attention from the video, he was recently offered a record deal! In a recent interview with Fuse.tv, Zach talked about his diagnosis, his inspiration for the song and becoming an inspiration.
Beaumont’s Adil Akhtar, M.D., Hematology & Oncology, (who is not involved in Zach’s care) provides additional details about osteosarcoma:
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that arises in bones and it is usually found at the end of long bones, often around the knee. It usually develops in teenagers when a teen is growing rapidly.
Osteosarcoma itself is not common. There are about 800 new cases of osteosarcoma in the United States each year. About 400 of these are in children and teens. While it is most common in teens, it can occur at any age.
The treatment should be done by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists, including a medical and radiation oncologist. The team also has a surgeon who specializes in orthopedic oncology. The treament includes surgery and chemotherapy which can be done both before and after the surgery. Radiation therapy can be used in certain situations.
With modern treatment, the 5-year survival rate for patients with localized osteosarcoma is in the range of 60% to 80%. The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is found. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years and many are cured.