Life after treatment for a soft tissue sarcoma
This information is about life after having surgery for a soft tissue sarcoma. You may find it useful to read the information about surgery first.
Life after limb-sparing surgeryBack to top
The long-term effects of limb-sparing surgery depend on which part of your body is affected and what kind of operation you have. The best person to ask is your surgeon.
After limb-sparing surgery the limb might not work as well as it used to. Physiotherapy is an important part of your recovery. You’ll be given exercises to do to help you get your limb working as well as possible. These can be hard work, but it’s important to keep going with them.
If you’ve had a joint replacement, you’ll be able to walk and swim and do most of the things you could do before, but your doctor might advise you not to play high-impact sports like hockey, football, tennis or rugby. These activities could damage or loosen the new joint. Check with your surgeon about any special instructions they may have for what activities you can do.
If you’ve had a shoulder replacement you might find it harder to lift your arm above your shoulder. After any kind of joint replacement, you will be given physiotherapy. It’s very important to do the exercises your physiotherapist shows you so that you get as much movement back as possible.
After amputation most people have an artificial limb, called a prosthesis. There are artificial limbs designed to let you do all types of physical activities, including walking, swimming, running, cycling and playing sports.
Different types of prosthesis let you do different things. Some people have one for wearing day-to-day, and an extra one specially designed for something like swimming or doing athletics.
How will I feel?
You might feel lots of different emotions. You might be tearful, angry, fed up or depressed at times. You might think you've lost all your confidence and that you'll never be able to live a normal life or be in a normal relationship. These feelings are normal, and it's important that you get support to help you cope with them. You could talk to:
- family or friends
- a counsellor, which can be arranged by your nurses
- other young people in a similar situation, for example through an online community or a support group.
Our online community has a group for people who are 16-24 and living with cancer. It's your space to talk freely with other people who understand what you're going through.
Things will be tough as you get used to living with an amputation, but help is available.
Other people's reactions can be hard to cope with too. You might be worried about what your friends think or how they're going to treat you. The thought of going back into school, college or work can be scary. Even people in your family who you are close to might not know what to say or do. Others might say things that sound stupid or seem hurtful.
Try to choose a couple of really close relatives or friends who you can call on when things get you down. You might also find it useful to talk to someone outside your close circle, like a counsellor. Most people find it helps to talk about how they're feeling or what’s on their mind.
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If you're looking for information about soft tissue sarcomas in people of all ages please see our general soft tissue sarcomas information.