Treatment for Osteosarcoma
Treatment for osteosarcoma typically involves 10 weeks of chemotherapy, then surgery to remove the main tumor, then 20 more weeks of chemotherapy. Treatment can vary depending on location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread, whether there was a bone break due to the cancer, etc.
It is very important to be treated at a sarcoma center, where there are doctors that specialize in sarcomas. A sarcoma specialist will be able to work with a patient to decide on the best course of action to get the best possible outcome.
After treatments are finished, The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends a schedule of follow-up exams and tests for osteosarcoma patients. It includes appointments every three months for the first two years, every four months for the third and fourth year, and every six month for the fifth year. Most appointments include a physical exam, imagining of the original tumor’s location and imaging of the lungs. In patients who have been treated with chemotherapy, tests are also done periodically to monitor the heart, liver and kidneys and to test for hearing loss. If recurrence is detected at follow-up, further chemotherapy and/or surgery is usually recommended.
It is important to note that sarcomas are a lifelong diagnosis, and should be treated as such. Though, most recurrences or metastases will be discovered within the first two to five years after treatment. Once the patient has cleared the five-year mark, the risk of recurrence diminishes greatly, but still exists.