For some people with bone cancer, treatment may remove or destroy the cancer. Completing treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, but find it hard not to worry about cancer coming back. (When cancer comes back after treatment, it is called recurrence.) This is a very common concern in people who have had cancer.
It may take a while before your fears lessen. But it may help to know that many cancer survivors have learned to live with this uncertainty and are living full lives. Our document, Living With Uncertainty: The Fear of Cancer Recurrence gives more details about this.
For other people, the cancer may never go away completely. These people may get regular treatments with chemotherapy (chemo), radiation, or other treatments to try to help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that does not go away can be very stressful. It has its own type of uncertainty. Our document, When Cancer Doesn't Go Away, talks more about this.
After your treatment is over, ongoing follow-up is very important. During these visits, your doctors will ask about any symptoms you might have and may use exams and lab tests or x-rays and scans to look for signs of cancer or treatment side effects.
Also keep in mind that after bone surgery, rehab and physical therapy will be important to help you regain as much of your mobility and independence as possible.
Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks or months, but others can be permanent. Please tell your cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects that bother you so they can help you manage them. Use this time to ask your health care team questions and discuss any concerns you might have.
It is also important to keep health insurance. While you hope your cancer won’t come back, it could happen. If it does, you don’t want to have to worry about paying for treatment. Should your cancer come back, our document When Your Cancer Comes Back: Cancer Recurrence helps you manage and cope with this phase of your treatment.
Seeing a new doctor
At some point after your cancer is found and treated, you may find yourself in the office of a new doctor who doesn’t know about your cancer. It is important that you be able to give your new doctor the exact details of your diagnosis and treatment. Gathering these details soon after treatment may be easier than trying to get them at some point in the future. Make sure you have this information handy and always keep copies for yourself:
- A copy of your pathology report from any biopsy or surgery
- If you had surgery, a copy of your operative report
- If you were in the hospital, a copy of the discharge summary that the doctor wrote when you were sent home from the hospital
- If you had radiation treatment, a summary of the type and dose of radiation and when and where it was given
- If you had chemo or targeted therapies, a list of your drugs, drug doses, and when you took them
- A copy of your x-rays and other imaging studies (these can be put on a CD or DVD)
Last Revised: 01/24/2013