Is follow-up treatment necessary? What does it involve?

Yes. Bone cancer sometimes metastasizes, particularly to the lungs, or can recur (come back), either at the same location or in other bones in the body.1 People who have had bone cancer should see their doctor regularly and should report any unusual symptoms right away.

Follow-up varies for different types and stages of bone cancer. Generally, patients are checked frequently by their doctor and have regular blood tests and x-rays. People who have had bone cancer, particularly children and adolescents, have an increased likelihood of developing another type of cancer, such as leukemia, later in life. 

Regular follow-up care ensures that changes in health are discussed and that problems are treated as soon as possible.

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Are clinical trials (research studies) available for people with bone cancer?

Yes. Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many people with bone cancer. To develop new treatments and better ways to use current treatments, NCI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring clinical trials in many hospitals and cancer centers around the country.

Clinical trials are a critical step in the development of new methods of treatment. Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease.

People interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. Information about clinical trials is available from NCI’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) at 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237) and in the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. This booklet describes how research studies are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.

More information about clinical trials is available on NCI’s Clinical Trials page, which offers detailed information about specific ongoing studies by linking to PDQ®, NCI’s comprehensive cancer information database. The CIS also provides information from PDQ.

Selected References

  1. Malawer MM, Helman LJ, O’Sullivan B. Sarcomas of bone. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, editors. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. Vol. 2. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2004.
  2. Pizzo P, Poplack DG, editors. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2002.
  3. Ries LAG, Smith MA, Gurney JG, et al., editors. Cancer Incidence and Survival among Children and Adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1999. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute, 1999.
  4. Miller RW, Boice JD, Curtis RE. Bone cancer. In: Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF, editors. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  5. American Cancer Society (2008). Cancer Facts and Figures 2008. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
  6. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB. A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2004.

Source: National Cancer Institute

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