Chondrosarcoma of Bone?

Chondrosarcoma of bone is a form of cancer that occurs in cartilage cells. Most bones develop from the cartilage and it is specialized, connective tissue that is present in adults.

Cartilage has an important role to play in the process of growth. Many kinds of cartilage are present in our body. Among many cartilage types, chondrosarcoma affects primarily the cartilage cells of the arm, pelvis, knee, or femur (thigh bone). However, it may also affect other areas like ribs as well.

The second most common type of primary bone cancer is chondrosarcoma. Cancer that starts with bones is called primary bone cancer. Thus, this is different from cancers that start in other parts of the body and then spread to others. Besides, one should mention that this form of cancer affects individuals under the age of twenty. However, there is an equal incidence between males and females.

Causes of chondrosarcoma?

There is no exact known cause for chondrosarcoma. What makes certain individuals more prone to this form of cancer may be several genetic or chromosomal components. In fact, for other cancers, one observes the chondrosarcoma  as a consequence of radiation therapy.

Thus, chondrosarcoma can happen from normal cartilage cells most often. However, it may also result from a pre-existing cartilage tumor. Certain changes in the DNA of cells have links to this cancer. In addition to this, several risk factors increase your chance of developing this cancer.

Risk factors include:

 Enchondromas: This is a risk factor for chondrosarcoma. People with enchondromas that start from cartilage and affecting hands can develop cancer as well.

Ollier disease: This includes a cluster of benign cartilage tumors that usually affect the hands (enchondromas).

Maffucci syndrome: It is a combination of angiomas (benign tumors made up of blood vessels) and multiple enchondromas (benign cartilage tumors that usually affect the hands).

Osteochondromas (Multiple exostoses): The presence of an overgrowth of cartilage and bone near the end of the growth plate (Osteochondromas) can increase your risk of developing chondrosarcoma.


Symptoms of Chondrosarcoma?

Depending upon the location of the tumor, the symptoms of chondrosarcoma may vary. Thus, here we list some common symptoms of chondrosarcoma. Besides, different individuals experience symptoms to a different extent. The main symptoms are:

  • Swelling in the affected area.
  • The affected bone has a large mass.
  • Pressure around the tumor mass
  • Pain that increases with time gradually. The pain worsens at night, which your doctor may relieve by ibuprofen(anti-inflammatory medicines). Furthermore, restalso does not relieve the pain.

Diagnosis of Chondrosarcoma?

It is very tough to diagnose these tumors as they grow slowly over years. In many cases, your doctor may diagnose the cancer during testing for other unrelated issues. After that, a biopsy helps to confirm the diagnosis.

Imaging tests: 

X-ray is a primary test to have as it helps to identify any suspicious area in the bone. Your doctor will then select this part for further examination. There are other imaging tests as well that give you additional information about the tumor. These include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Biopsy: By removing a sample of suspicious tissue with a needle or a scalpel and testing it in a lab, your doctor will confirm a diagnosis of chondrosarcoma. However, your doctor will take special care while performing a biopsy, as it might become more difficult to remove the tumor during a later operation.


Surgery: The primary treatment for chondrosarcoma is surgery. During surgery, the motive is to remove the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it. What type of surgery your doctor will recommend for you depends upon the location of your tumor.

Limb salvage surgery is a suitable option for most chondrosarcoma. In this technique, your doctor will remove cancer and replace or reconstruct the affected bone.

A small percentage of chondrosarcomas may also require amputation. Your doctor will choose this option when your tumor involves blood vessels, major nerves, or is very large. Thus, removal of the tumor becomes necessary under these conditions and may even destroy the function of the limb.

Radiation therapy: Your doctor may suggest using radiations before or after the operation. Further, your doctor may use it in cases where it is difficult to remove all the tumor-like the base of the skull.

Chemotherapy: This form of treatment is generally not effective against chondrosarcoma, as it is a very slow-growing tumor. Chemotherapy is effective against cancers that grow very quickly. However, some forms of chondrosarcoma grow very quickly, so in these cases, chemotherapy may be helpful.

 Coping and support 

When you get diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, it could be frightening for you as well as your family. You may learn to cope with the uncertainty and distress related to cancer with time.  You need to follow these instructions until then;

Call on for medical support:

Various things are going to help you. The knowledge and understanding of a medical social worker, or any other mental health professional will help you in understanding your cancer.

If your child or other family member suffers from cancer, you need to ask health care professionals for advice. They will provide you with options for medical health support as well as emotional and social support.

In addition to this, you can check various online services that will provide you support to combat cancer.

  • Gain more knowledge about chondrosarcoma to make decisions about control and care:

Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to chondrosarcoma. Little knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, more confidence in understanding and making decisions about treatment options will be there with you. So you should always learn more about the disease.

Ask the health care team for guidance if your child has cancer. Get more and more information for appropriately caring for the patient.

Be close to your friends and family:

A close and strong relationship with your family and friends will help you deal with chondrosarcoma.

You need practical support, moral support from your friends and relatives. Someone should be there for you to look after the family. Emotional support from them is going to matter most. A healthy and happy person will ultimately efficiently fight the disease.


Prepare for your appointment

You are likely to start making an appointment with your primary care doctor if some signs and symptoms worry you. Ask for a referral to an experienced specialist if your doctor suspects chondrosarcoma.

A team of specialists typically can treat chondrosarcoma. For instance;

Orthopedic surgeons or orthopedic oncologists who have specialization in operating bone cancers.

Doctors who have a specialization in treating cancers with systemic medications or chemotherapy.

Pathologists diagnose the specific type of cancer by analyzing a tissue.

Rehabilitation specialists who after surgery help in the recovery of a tumor.


What you should expect from your doctor:

You will face several questions from your doctor. You should be ready to answer to give more time to your doctor to address them. Your doctor may ask;

What signs and symptoms concern you more?

Have your symptoms been occasional or continuous?

When did you start to notice the symptoms?

The severity of your symptoms?

Is there anything that improves your symptoms?

Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?

Do you have any family or personal history of cancer?