Bone cancer Treatment considered by your doctor depends on the type of cancer you have (osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or myeloma), its stage or type of organs affected (in case of a metastatic bone cancer). In addition, your oncologist will consider the state of your health in order to avoid overly aggressive treatment that can do more harm than good.
In general, bone cancer is treated by three main methods: surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy; these may be used alone or in combination.
Surgery is the most effective and most used treatment in the case of bone cancer. During the surgery, your surgeon removes the cancer and surrounding tissues. In some cases, mostly if the cancer is advanced, amputation of the affected limb is unavoidable. The operation may be preceded by chemotherapy (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) or succeeded by chemotherapy (adjuvant chemotherapy).
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that attacks all organs of the body and prevents cancer cells to multiply. Depending on the aggressiveness of the tumor, your oncologist may use chemotherapy alone or in combination with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy increases your chance of surviving, but it often many side effects such as:
- hair loss
- nausea and vomiting
- shortness of breath
- mouth sores.
During radiotherapy, the cancerous area of your body is directly exposed to radiation, which makes a specific part of the body is affected by the treatment, unlike chemotherapy. The rays of radiation prevent the proliferation of the diseased cells and cause their destruction. Radiotherapy may be administered before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor or after surgery in combination with chemotherapy.
Although less harmful than chemotherapy, radiation therapy can cause the following side effects:
- loss of appetite
- skin dryness and redness.