What Are the Long-Term Effects of Treatment for Osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma treatment can produce both short-term and long-term side effects. There are a number of ways to manage these side effects (e.g., medications to help alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea), but it’s important to take any potential complications into consideration when deciding on a treatment plan.

Side effects of chemotherapy

When chemotherapy is used as a treatment for osteosarcoma, most of the side effects appear during the treatment process. For instance, nausea, fatigue, hair loss, anemia and loss of appetite may occur, but these symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks after treatment is completed. However, some longer-term side effects of chemotherapy may include:

  • Cardiotoxicity (heart damage)
  • Pulmonary toxicity (lung damage)
  • Gradual hearing loss

Oncologists can recommend various medications to help counteract these side effects. Long-term monitoring programs may also be recommended to ensure that any residual complications are adequately diagnosed and treated.

Side effects of surgery

As with chemotherapy, osteosarcoma surgery is most frequently associated with short-term side effects. Infection, swelling and blood loss are most common, although minimally invasive surgical techniques can often help reduce the likelihood of these complications.

Side effects of radiation therapy

Depending on the treatment site, radiation therapy can cause long-term side effects that are similar to those of chemotherapy (e.g., heart or lung damage if the radiation is directed at the chest), as well as some unique side effects, such as a loss of fertility if the radiation is directed at the pelvis. Radiation therapy can also cause temporary changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle that typically resolve after the completion of treatment.

It’s to be expected that the possibility of side effects is on your mind as you consider your osteosarcoma treatment. At Moffitt Cancer Center, you’re not alone – we’re committed to helping you find the options that are most appropriate for your unique needs. We offer a variety of advanced therapies and supportive care services in a single location and are continually investigating ways to improve our patients’ long-term outcomes.

Our osteosarcoma specialists can provide more specific information about the potential side effects of treatment. No referral is required to make an appointment; you can call 1-888-663-3888 or submit a new patient registration form online to schedule a consultation.