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Osteosarcoma Treatment

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These medications may be taken orally or put into a vein or muscle by a needle. Chemotherapy is called systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body, and kills cancer cells. Chemotherapy involving the use of more than one drug is called combination chemotherapy.
In some cases, chemotherapy is injected directly into the area where the cancer is found (regional chemotherapy). With osteosarcoma, surgery is often used to remove the local tumor and chemotherapy is then administered to kill any cancer cells that remain.
Chemotherapy given after surgery, to remove the cancer, is called adjuvant chemotherapy. It can also be given before surgery to shrink the cancer so that it can be removed during surgery; this is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. External radiation therapy is usually given to patients with osteosarcoma. This type of therapy comes from a machine outside of the body.
(Click Osteosarcoma Treatment by Stage for more information.)

Side Effects of Treatment for Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma treatment may damage healthy cells and tissues, which may result in side effects. Specific side effects depend on many factors, including the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one treatment session to the next.
Healthcare providers should explain the possible side effects that may occur and ways to manage them prior to treating osteosarcoma.
Some side effects can continue or appear years after treatment has ended. These are called late effects. Late effects of osteosarcoma treatment may include:
  • Physical problems
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory
  • Second cancers (new types of cancer).
Some late effects may be treated or controlled.
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Information on Osteosarcoma

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