Moving on after treatment for osteosarcoma
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 is 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 is needed to check for the cancer coming back (recurrence) or spread, as well as to check for side effects of certain treatments. This is the time for you discuss any concerns or questions you might have.
Your or your child will probably see the oncologist and the orthopedic surgeon every few months during the first year after treatment. Physical exams, tests like chest x-rays or CT scans, and x-rays of the bone that had cancer are recommended 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 damage to the heart. People who get these drugs may have exams to check these things.
Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks or months, but others can be permanent. Please 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 is also important to keep health insurance. While you hope your cancer (or your child’s cancer) won’t come back, it could happen. If it does, you don’t want to have to worry about paying for treatment. Should the cancer come back, our document When Your Cancer Comes Back: Cancer Recurrence can help you manage and cope with this phase of treatment.
Last Medical Review: 01/24/2013
Last Revised: 01/24/2013