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Bone Cancer Treatment

Getting a Second Opinion

Sometimes, it is helpful to have a second opinion about the bone cancer diagnosis and the bone cancer treatment plan. While some insurance companies require a second opinion, others may cover a second opinion if the patient or doctor requests it.

Options for Treating Bone Cancer

The doctor is the best person to describe the bone cancer treatment choices and to discuss the expected results of each treatment option. The doctor and the patient should work together to develop a treatment plan that fits the patient's needs.
Depending on the type and extent of bone cancer, treatment may include:
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of these methods.
Surgery is often the primary treatment for bone cancer. Although amputation of a limb is sometimes necessary, chemotherapy has made limb-sparing surgery possible in many cases. When appropriate, surgeons avoid amputation by removing only the cancerous section of the bone and replacing it with an artificial device called a prosthesis.
Chemotherapy and bone cancer radiation may be used alone or in combination. Ewing's sarcoma tends to metastasize rapidly, which is why multidrug chemotherapy is often used, in addition to radiation therapy or surgery on the primary tumor.

Side Effects of Treatment

Treating bone cancer may damage healthy cells and tissues, which can lead to unwanted side effects. Specific side effects will depend on many factors, including the type and extent of the bone cancer treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one bone cancer treatment session to the next. Healthcare providers should explain the possible side effects and ways to manage them before treatment for bone cancer begins.
Depending on the type of bone cancer, some treatments can cause side effects that continue or that appear years after treatment has ended. These are called late effects. Late effects of bone cancer treatment may include:
  • Physical problems
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory
  • Having second cancers (new types of cancer).
Some late effects may be treated or controlled.
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