Primary bone cancer treatment
The treatment of bone cancers is complex and requires specialist care.
Learn more about:
- Treatment for primary bone cancer
- Specialist treatment centres
- Preparing for treatment
- Radiation therapy
Treatment will depend on:
- the type of primary bone cancer
- the location and size of the tumour
- whether or not the cancer has spread (its stage)
- your age, fitness, general health and preferences.
Treatment for primary bone cancer usually includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments. The aim is to control the cancer and maintain the use of the affected area of the body. Many people who are treated for bone cancer go into remission (when the symptoms of bone cancer decrease or disappear).
Understanding your treatment options and possible side effects can help you weigh up the pros and cons of different treatments. You may want to get a second opinion from another specialist to confirm or clarify your first doctor’s recommendations.
Clinical trials test new treatments to see if they’re better than current methods. Talk to your doctor about whether you may be able to access new treatments through a clinical trial.
Located in major cities throughout Australia, these centres have expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) who regularly manage this cancer. The team will include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and clinical nurse consultants, as well as allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers. Some centres also have oncologists with experience in treating young people with bone cancer.
To find a specialist treatment centre, visit The Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association (ANZSA).
To find cancer specialists, multidisciplinary teams and hospitals in NSW or ACT, you can visit the NSW Government website CanRefer.
Some types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can affect your heart and kidneys. Your doctor may recommend you have some tests to check how well your heart and kidneys are working.
Treatment may affect your fertility (your ability to conceive a child). If you are interested in having children in the future, discuss this with your doctor before treatment starts. You may be able to store sperm, eggs or embryos. For more information, see Fertility and cancer.
Bones affected by cancer are weaker than normal bone. If your doctor suspects you are at risk of fracturing a bone because of the cancer, they may suggest you wear a splint to support the bone or use crutches.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Richard Boyle, Orthopaedic Oncology Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Sarat Chander, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; James Hyett, Consumer; Rebecca James, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Warren Joubert, Senior Staff Specialist Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Kristyn Schilling, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Cancer Outreach Program, St George Hospital, NSW; Prof Paul N Smith, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Orthopaedics ACT.
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