Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
Potential Side Effects of Surgery
h) Blood Clots
A blood clot in the legs is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT can occur right after surgery because of decreased mobility and other factors. In the most serious circumstances, a blood clot can break off and travel to the lungs (called a pulmonary embolus or PE). PE can cause shortness of breath and low oxygen levels.
Frequent position changes, leg and ankle exercises and early mobility also help reduce blood clots. Low doses of a blood thinner, such as heparin, may be given to people who are at high risk of developing blood clots.
i) Nerve Damage
Nerve damage may occur if nerves are damaged or cut during surgery. This can cause a loss of feeling (numbness), tingling in the limb or changes in sensation.
Nerve damage can appear long after surgery is over and may last a long time.Disorders of nerves and the nervous system is the general problem of bone cancer treatment. It is called peripheral neuropathy. This term refers to the damage to the peripheral nerves, or the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (i.e., the central nervous system).
j) Non-healing of a Bone Graft
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that uses transplanted bone to repair and rebuild diseased or damaged bones. A bone graft is a choice for repairing bones almost anywhere in your body.
The bone graft helps in formation of new living bone growth. There is a greater chance of the bone not healing (non-union) and increased chance of infection when an allograft is used. If the bone graft does not heal, there is chance that a fracture may occur at the site of the graft.
k) Loosening or Breaking of an Endoprosthesis
An artificial hip joint is an implanted prosthesis (endoprosthesis) to replace the functions of the hip joint after a loss of functionality. This is an important procedure to restore the ability to move without pain.
The endoprosthesis completely replaces the section of bone that needs to be removed and bridges the gap between the top and bottom of the body.
An endoprosthesis needs to be tightened or replaced if it becomes loose or wears down. This may not happen for many years after it is implanted. It depends on the type and location of the prosthesis and how active a person is.
Contracture is a loss of motion over time due to abnormal shortening of the soft tissue structures spanning one or more joints. These include skin, ligaments, tendon, muscles and joint capsules. Loss of motion in any of the structures restricts joint mobility leading to pain, stiffness and eventually contracture.
Muscles, tendons and ligaments can sometimes stiffen or shrink, causing a permanent tightening of the joint (contracture). This side effect can especially affect people who are not physically active. Limited movement, stiffness, weakness, or walking with a limp may occur with contractures.
Physical and occupational therapy can help prevent contractures from forming.
Conclusion: It is evident that surgical procedure is the one of the main bone cancer treatment. However like all other kinds of treatments, surgery also has some side effects which were mentioned above. Any person going through the trauma of the bone cancer disease will naturally be afraid of treatment’s side effects.
However it is suggested to consult expert doctors for bone cancer and plan the treatment as per individual medical condition. It is not necessary that everyone will face these side-effects or have the same quantum of complications.It has been observed that while patients do experience some of the other side-effects of surgery but most of the time they disappear sooner or later.