What happens after treatment for osteosarcoma?
Following treatment for osteosarcoma, the main concerns for most people are the short- and long-term effects of the cancer and its treatment, and concerns about the possibility of the cancer coming back.
It’s certainly normal to want to put the tumor and its treatment behind you and to get back to a life that doesn’t revolve around cancer. But it’s important to realize that follow-up care is a central part of this process that offers you (or your child) the best chance for recovery and long-term survival.
After treatment is over, it is very important to go to all follow-up appointments. During these visits, doctors will ask about symptoms, do physical exams, and may order blood tests or imaging tests such as CT scans or x-rays. Follow-up is needed to check for cancer recurrence or spread, as well as possible side effects of certain treatments. This is the time for you to ask the health care team any questions you need answered and to discuss any concerns you might have.
You or your child will probably see the oncologist and the orthopedic surgeon every few months during the first year after treatment, and less often thereafter. Physical exams and imaging tests of the affected bone and of the chest are typically recommended about every 3 to 4 months for 3 years, every 6 months in years 4 and 5, and once a year after that.
Some chemotherapy drugs can cause problems with hearing or heart damage. People who get these drugs may also have audiograms to check hearing or tests to check heart function.
Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks to several months, but others can be permanent. Tell the cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects so they can help manage them.
Last Medical Review: 01/08/2013
Last Revised: 02/06/2014