Primary Bone Cancer: Newly Diagnosed
Being told you have bone cancer (cancer that starts in the bones) can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
Coping with fear
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your health care team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Working with your healthcare team
You will likely have different types of doctors on your healthcare team. These might include:
Orthopedic surgeon. This is a doctor who treats diseases of the bones and joints with surgery.
Orthopedic oncologist. This is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating cancer of the bones and joints.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Many other healthcare professionals will be part of your team as well. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
Children with bone cancer should see doctors who are experienced in treating children. This may mean going to a children’s hospital or to a pediatric part of a medical center. Teens may visit special adolescent cancer units. These units have doctors who can diagnose and treat children and teens with cancer. They also have a team of people to help support children and teens. This team may include specialist doctors and nurses. It may also include social workers, physical therapists, dietitians, education specialists, and psychologists.
Learning about treatment options
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than 1 healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with bone cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.
March 21, 2017
Alteri, Rick, MD,Levin, Mark, MD