After treatment for osteosarcoma, the main concerns for most people are the side effects of the cancer and its treatment (both right away and long-term), and concerns about the cancer coming back.
It’s 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 keep in mind that follow-up care is a central part of this process. It offers you (or your child) the best chance for recovery and long-term survival.
After treatment is over, it’s very important to go to all follow-up visits. During these, doctors will ask about symptoms, do physical exams, and may order blood tests or tests like CT scans or x-rays. Follow-up visits are needed to check for the cancer coming back (recurrence) or spreading, as well as to check for side effects from treatment. This is the time for you discuss any concerns or questions you might have.
Your or your child will probably need to see the doctor and get scans or other tests every few months during the first year after treatment, and less often after that if there are no issues.
Physical therapy and rehab is often a very important part of recovery after treatment, and your doctors and other health providers will follow your (child’s) progress closely as time goes on.
Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for weeks or months, but others can last longer or might not show up until months or even years later. Be sure to tell the cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects that bother you (or your child) so they can help you manage them.
It’s also very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
Should the cancer come back, treatment will depend on where it is, what treatments were used before, and other factors. For more on dealing with a recurrence, our document When Your Cancer Comes Back: Cancer Recurrence can help you manage and cope with this phase of treatment.
Last Revised: 01/27/2016