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Side Effects of Bone Cancer Treatments

Bone swelling, a sign for tumour

When bone cancer treatment is complete, the doctors will observe the patient carefully to confirm positive results of the treatment. Side effects can occur with any type of treatment for bone cancer, but not everyone has them or experiences them in the same way. These can happen any time during, immediately or after the treatment given to the patient.

If the patient observes any change or face problem after receiving bone cancer treatment, it is strongly recommended to discuss the signs with the doctor at the earliest. After bone surgery, undergoing physical therapy complete course is inevitable to recuperate and gain strength to increase move easily without help.

Potential Side-Effects of Surgery

Side effects of surgery depends mainly on the person’s overall health, type and location of the surgery, effect of other cancer treatments given before surgery and tissue treated with radiation therapy may not heal well after surgery.

Most side effects go away after surgery. Late side effects can occur months or years after surgery. Some side effects may last a long time or be permanent. It is important to report side effects to the healthcare team.

a)  Pain

Experiencing pain after the surgery is normal due to strain happened on bone tissue during surgery. Though pain-relieving medicines are given to control pain, it may take time for pain to go away based on the procedure done and patient’s health condition.

b)  Phantom Limb Pain

Some people experience pain or sensations in a limb that has been amputated (called phantom limb pain or phantom limb phenomenon) because of nerve damage from surgery. Phantom limb pain may include burning, itching, cramping and throbbing. It can occur up to 4 weeks after surgery and usually lessens during the first year after surgery.

Phantom limb pain may be managed with different medications. The person may also use other techniques, including heat or use of a stump shrinker (which puts pressure on the stump). If the symptoms of phantom limb pain continue for years, consulting a chronic pain specialist may be helpful.

c)  Infection

People who have a bone graft from a donor have a life-long risk of infection. If the bone graft becomes infected, further surgery might be needed.

Other than bone graft, any other surgery may also develop a wound infection. This is not a common side effect, but may happen. Sometimes tubes are placed into the wound to drain extra fluid. Antibiotics may be used to help prevent or treat an infection.

An endoprosthesis may need to be removed and replaced if it becomes infected. The infection needs to be treated before a new endoprosthesis can be put back in.

d)  Swelling

As tissues are damaged during surgery, swelling may occur around incision site. Compressive dressing is applied to the stump after amputation to control swelling.

e)  Bleeding

If blood vessels are not sealed off properly during surgery, bleeding can happen or if the person has a blood clotting disorder. A small amount of bloody drainage may be expected after surgery If bleeding is severe, the surgeon may have to operate again to stop it.

f)  Wound Separation

Stitches after surgery to close the open part of the body may not conceal correctly and the edges of the wound may separate. Minor separation of the skin edges may be normal but separation of underlying muscle or fat edges can be more serious. Strenuous physical activity is usually avoided for 8 or more weeks after surgery to help prevent wound separation.

g)  Lung Problems

Lung problems can occur for a variety of reasons, such as the location and type of surgery done, pre-existing lung problems or smoking. The two kinds of lung problems that may occur are lung infection (pneumonia) or a collapsed lung (atelectasis).

Stopping smoking before surgery helps prevent lung infections and atelectasis. Frequent deep breathing help reduce lung problems and patient may be given a special device called an incentive spirometer to breathe.



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