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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®)

  • Posted: 04/23/2004
  • Updated: 04/04/2014

Table 13. Bone and Joint Late Effects

Predisposing Therapy Musculoskeletal Effects Health Screening 
CT = computed tomography; DXA = dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; GVHD = graft-versus-host disease; HSCT = hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Radiation impacting musculoskeletal systemHypoplasia; fibrosis; reduced/uneven growth (scoliosis, kyphosis); limb length discrepancyExam: bones and soft tissues in radiation fields
Radiation impacting head and neckCraniofacial abnormalitiesHistory: psychosocial assessment, with attention to: educational and/or vocational progress, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, social withdrawal
Head and neck exam
Radiation impacting musculoskeletal systemRadiation-induced fractureExam of affected bone
Methotrexate; corticosteroids (dexamethasone, prednisone); radiation impacting skeletal structures; HSCTReduced bone mineral densityBone mineral density test (DXA or quantitative CT)
Corticosteroids (dexamethasone, prednisone)OsteonecrosisHistory: joint pain, swelling, immobility, limited range of motion
Musculoskeletal exam
Radiation with impact to oral cavityOsteoradionecrosisHistory/oral exam: impaired or delayed healing after dental work, persistent jaw pain or swelling, trismus
HSCT with any history of chronic GVHDJoint contractureMusculoskeletal exam
AmputationAmputation-related complications (impaired cosmesis, functional/activity limitations, residual limb integrity, chronic pain, increased energy expenditure)History: pain, functional/activity limitations
Exam: residual limb integrity
Prosthetic evaluation
Limb-sparing surgeryLimb-sparing surgical complications (functional/activity limitations, fibrosis, contractures, chronic infection, chronic pain, limb length discrepancy, increased energy expenditure, prosthetic malfunction [loosening, non-union, fracture])History: pain, functional/activity limitations
Exam: residual limb integrity
Radiograph of affected limb
Orthopedic evaluation