Impact of treatment for osteosarcoma
Social and emotional issues might come up during and after treatment. A person’s age and the extent of treatment can play a role in this.
Most osteosarcomas happen during the teen or young adult years. This is a very sensitive time in a person’s life. This cancer and its treatment can affect how a person looks and how they do some everyday tasks. This can have an impact on their school, work, and other daily activities. The impact is often greatest during the first year of treatment, but it can be long-lasting for some people.
The treatment center should help address these issues as soon as possible. Some common concerns include costs, getting to the cancer center, and being able to go to work or school.
Cancer care teams usually advise that children and teens attend school as much as they can. This helps them maintain a sense of daily routine and stay in touch with friends.
While friends can be a great source of support, some people have wrong ideas or fears about cancer. Some cancer centers have programs that can help by sending health educators to the school to talk to students and teachers about cancer and its treatment. (For more on this, see our document Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Returning to School.)
There may also be programs that help new patients meet others who have already finished treatment. These are often called support groups and they can be a big help for the person starting treatment.
Parents and other family members can also be affected, both emotionally and in other ways. Some common family concerns during treatment include money issues, traveling to and staying near the cancer center, the possible loss of a job, and the need for home schooling. Social workers and other experts at cancer centers can help families sort through these issues.
During treatment, patients and their families tend to focus on the daily aspects of getting through it and beating the cancer. But once treatment is done, a number of emotional concerns can come up. Some of these might last a long time. They can include things like:
- Dealing with physical changes from the treatment
- Worrying about the cancer returning or new health problems
- Resenting having had cancer or having to go through treatment when others do not
- Worrying about being treated differently (by friends, classmates, coworkers, employers, etc.)
- Being concerned about dating, marrying, and having a family later in life
With support from family, friends, and others, many people who have survived cancer can thrive in spite of the challenges they’ve had to face. If needed, doctors and other members of the health care team can often recommend special support programs and services to help after cancer treatment.
Adults with osteosarcoma can face many of the same challenges. They, as well as children and teens, can and should use their cancer center’s extra support services.
Last Medical Review: 06/13/2014
Last Revised: 01/06/2015