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Sarcoma. 1997;1(1):39-45.

Quality of life in children following treatment for a malignant primary bone tumour around the knee.

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CRC Child and Family Research Group Department of Psychology University of Exeter Devon Exeter EX4 4QG UK.



We report on the quality of life following treatment for a malignant primary bone tumour around the knee in skeletally immature children.


Patients (n = 41; mean age = 18 years; range 8-28) had all experienced chemotherapy in a neo-adjuvant setting, surgical excision of the tumour and endoprosthetic replacement.


Interviews were conducted separately with the child and mother and focused on mobility, body image and the impact of treatment on schooling, employment and plans for the future.


Mobility in the group was variable. Only 12% reported that they could run with any confidence. The proportion who were able to swim (49%) or ride a bike (46%) was higher. All had experienced major disruption in schooling (mean absence following diagnosis = 12 months). Eight had repeated a school year and 41% patients reported that their schoolwork was affected. As a result of their experience, eight (six females and two males) chose health-related employment. Concerns for the future were highest among males and those with manual jobs. Three patients were receiving psychiatric support, in relation to extreme concern about the risk of recurrence. All expressed satisfaction with treatment, and older patients believed that the prosthesis gave a better quality of life than amputation.


Our data suggest that outcome following limb-salvage surgery is variable. Education is disrupted. Even so, only two left school with no qualifications. Employment is most restricted among males with few qualifications who may benefit from sensitive vocational counselling.

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