chondrosarcoma bone cancer

Chondrosarcoma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

If your doctor suggests you have chondrosarcoma, then it means you have bone cancer. It is one of the most common types of bone cancer. Cancer develops slowly and also spreads slowly. You need to gain more insight into cancer to face the problem head-on. It is different from other types of bone cancer. Therefore, the factor that makes it different is the beginning of cancer in the cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible but tough material. It provides a cushion to the joints as well as bones. So, the problem can affect several parts of the body. You can get affected in areas like shoulders, pelvis, ribs, an upper arm bone, and thigh bone. The most common method to treat the issue is surgery. Invasive surgery can take out the tumor completely. Read ahead to know more about the problem in detail.

What Is Chondrosarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma Chondrosarcoma is the rare type of bone cancer. Around twenty percent of the total bone cancer case comes under the category. It can affect people between twenty to sixty years of age. The problem is more common in men. It mostly starts in bones. So, you get the issue in places like the leg, arms, pelvis, etc. But, the problem can affect any part of the body with cartilage presence. Cancer can grow on a healthy bone or one a benign tumor. So, people suffering from osteochondroma or enchondroma can suffer from the issue.

Locations Affecting Chondrosarcoma

The chondrosarcoma has cells producing cartilage. It may slowly begin in the bones. But, it can spread to the soft tissues near your bones. So, the rare type of cancer can spread to other organs and bones. You need to get treatment for the issues immediately. Without treatment, it has a high risk of metastasis. The main location affected by the issue are:

  • Hip
  • Shoulder
  • Pelvis
  • Base Of Skull (a rare occurrence)

The treatment focuses on removing the tumor completely to prevent problems. So, the doctor can adopt various methods. The surgery to remove the tumor is a common technique. Radiation and chemotherapy can also provide relief to some extent.

Types Of Chondrosarcoma

The chondrosarcoma is classified into different types.

Conventional Chondrosarcoma

It is the most common subtype of the malignant tumor. The cartilage forming tumor comprises the largest percentage (75-85%). So, the largest group of malignant cartilaginous can affect you adversely.

Clear Cell Chondrosarcoma

It is the subtype of a cancerous tumor with a small percentage. Only one to two percent of the chondrosarcomas comes under the category. It is the low-grade cancerous tumor. The name itself suggests the type of cells the tumor encompasses. Therefore, a clear cell of the tumor contains vacuolated cytoplasm in abundance. It is due to the presence of glycogen.

Myxoid Chondrosarcoma

It is the soft tissue malignancy. The cancer is different from the other sarcoma due to the presence of the unique myxoid chondrosarcoma. It is also known as EMC (Extraskeletal Myxoid Chondrosarcoma). The tumor develops in the soft tissues. Anyone over the age of 35 can get the problem. So, the slowly progressing, the painless tumor needs extra caution.

Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma

It is the malignant types of tumor mostly affecting the cartilage. Cancer mainly occurs in the bone. So, the common problem occurs in the bone. In the rest of the cases, the problems affect places outside the bone. Therefore, it can adversely affect extra-skeletal locations.

Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma

It is the aggressive form of cancer. The high-grade tumors can affect older patients. So, people over the age of fifty can suffer from the problem.

Symptoms Of Chondrosarcoma

How do you know you have cancer? When your body is affected by the disease, it shows you some visible signs. The following signs and symptoms indicate the presence of chondrosarcoma:

  • Increasing pain
  • Frequent fractures due to the weakness of bones
  • Palpable mass or swelling
  • If the tumor presses the spinal cord, then you can experience the following signs:
  • Weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Numbness

Causes Of Chondrosarcoma

You may wonder what exactly causes cancer to develop. Genetic mutations are one of the main reason for developing cancer. But, sometimes, a benign cartilage lesion can transform into cancer. The other issues or complication leading to chondrosarcoma are:

Risk Factors Leading To Chondrosarcoma

Everyone can get affected by the disease. But, some people are more prone to the problem compared to the others. So, the factors that influence the development of chondrosarcoma are:


It is most common in people who are above forty years of age. Though, the doctor does not know what triggers the problem. The problem may start first in your normal cartilage. But, it can spread to other areas. The growth is attributed to certain bone conditions.


It is the type of benign tumor. The non-cancerous tumors originate from the cartilage. It mostly affects the cartilage lining inside the bone. So, the ones that get affected are the miniature long bones. It mostly affects the hands as well as feet. It can show up on their own. But, at times it occurs with problems with Ollier disease or Maffucci syndrome. So, the problem can escalate into cancer.

Multiple Exostoses Syndrome

It is a rare genetic disorder. It can affect your bone growth. So, the problem causes the lumps or bumps to appear on the bones made of cartilage.

Cancer Treatment

Patients with a history of cancer treatment are more prone to the problem. if you have undergone radiation, therapy, then you are at risk.

Diagnosis Of Chondrosarcoma

It is important to diagnose the problem correctly. Therefore, once you suspect cancer, better seek doctor’s appointment. Your doctor can perform the diagnostic tests to detect the severity of the issue. Therefore, the main diagnostic methods to detect chondrosarcoma are:

Physical Examination

Your doctor can assess the symptoms by performing the physical examination. You need to answer the questions posed by the doctor truthfully. You need to inform about your medical history, symptoms you see, and the illness running in the family. So, the doctor can suggest further test based on the assessment.

Imaging Tests

The imaging test uses sophisticated technology to reveal the internal organs precisely. So, your doctor can the cancerous presence with ease. The various imaging tests to detect the problem are:

Bone Scans

Bone Scans

It shows the damage in your internal organs due to cancer. The bone scans also provide a comprehensive view of the area cancer has spread. For the test, you need to consume a substance with low radioactivity levels. The cancer cells can absorb the radioactive substance. So, the cancerous area (also known as hotspots) looks gray or black.

CT Scans

CT scans use powerful x-rays. So, your doctor can get a detailed image of your internal organs. Using the CT scan results, the doctor can check if cancer has spread to other areas.


Magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and powerful magnets. So, it helps to obtain the picture of your internal structures and organ with precision. It also detects the outline of the tumor.

PET Scans

PET Scans

The Positron Emission Tomography uses radioactive tracers. So, it looks inside your body to see if a tumor is cancerous or not. It also allows your doctor to check the spreading of cancer. So, the PET scan can reveal the exact location of cancer.


The x-ray is efficient in disclosing the tumor location, size, and shape.


The doctor takes the sample of your tumor for testing. The sample is tested in the lab after extracting it using the needle or surgery.

Grading Of Chondrosarcoma

Your doctor may something about grading when get diagnosed with the problem. the grading is nothing but the severity of the tumor. So, the grade can describe the speed at which your tumor is growing. It also sheds light on how fast it can spread to other parts of the body. Therefore, your doctor can develop an ideal treatment based on the grade. The diagnostic techniques can reveal the grade with precision. Hence, the three grades of the cancer are:

Low Grade (I)

It refers to slow-growing cancer. So, your doctor can treat it with surgery. When you get the treatment at the right time, it may not come back again. Therefore, it is the least recurring type of cancer.

Intermediate Grade (II)

The chondrosarcoma of grade II can grow more swiftly. It also has more chances of spreading quickly. Therefore, you need to seek medical attention quickly to avoid complications.

High Grade (III)

It is a severe type of chondrosarcoma. So, it spreads more quickly to other parts of the body compared to the other two types.

Chondrosarcoma Treatment Options

Chondrosarcoma requires treatment as soon as possible to eliminate the complications. So, seek your doctor’s appointment to get the right treatment. Your doctor looks into the diagnosis to determine the ideal treatment plan. So, like any cancer treatment, the treatment depends on certain factors like:

The factors play an important role in the success of the treatment and your chances to resume your life. Getting the treatment swiftly can improve your chances for improved quality and quantity of life. Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can suggest treatment options like:


It is the main treatment to overcome cancer. Your doctor can opt for the different types of surgical methods to overcome the problem.

Wide Resection

It is the surgery to remove the tumor along with the tissue and bone surrounding it. It is also known as en bloc resection. The surgery is common as it can remove the tumor from different parts of the body. So, your doctor adopts the surgery to remove the tumor formed in the bones of the following area of your body:

  • Arm
  • Skull
  • Spine
  • Leg
  • Pelvis


It is the surgical procedure that scrapes out the tumor. But, the surgeon does not remove any bones surrounding the bone. After the surgery, the surgeon uses cryosurgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. The surgery may leave a hole at the site of the tumor. It is the downside of the technique.

Bone Cement

The technique can fix the hole after the curettage procedure. It uses a chemical known as polymethyl methacrylate to fill the hole. It is a special type of cement. So, it can generate heat as it hardens. It has the potential to kill the remaining cancer cells. Therefore, the technique can treat small, low-grade tumors.

Limb-Sparing Surgery

The surgery can remove the chondrosarcoma tumor without amputating the limbs or arms. So, the surgeons remove the tumor completely and the soft tissue with cancerous presence. After the surgery, your doctor reconstructs the limb. It uses the bone and skin grafts. So, the surgical technique is best for the tumor in pelvis, leg, and arm.



It either removes the complete arm/leg or just the part affected by the tumor. So, it is the method opted when the chondrosarcoma spreads to the blood vessels or nerves. It is also ideal for big tumors. You need to undergo the amputation with cancer recurrence in the same area after the limb-sparing surgery. So, patients undergoing surgery need a prosthesis (artificial limb).

Reconstructive Surgery

It is performed simultaneously with the surgery to remove the tumor. In most cases, bone or tissue grafts can replace the tissues or bones during the surgery. If the surgery removes joints, then your doctor uses endoprosthesis to replace it.


Cancer has chances to return. Therefore, your doctor can opt for the cryosurgery. It lowers the chances of cancer to affect you again. During the process, the doctor puts liquid nitrogen. It is focused on the area of your tumor. So, liquid nitrogen has the potential to freeze and kill the cancer cells. So, it helps to destruct the cancer cells in the area completely. The cancer cells missed during the surgery gets eliminated making you safe.

Radiation therapy

Your doctor chooses radiation therapy only for the high-grade tumor. The doctor can suggest high doses of radiation to make it more effective. It is also used to treat the chondrosarcoma that your doctor cannot remove with surgery and the recurrent ones. The radiation therapy is also ideal to destroy the cancer cells left behind from the surgery (limb-sparing or wide section surgery).

The doctors opt for IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) or conformal proton beam radiation therapy for tumors at high-risk places. So, the method can treat the tumors in the spinal bones or at the base of your skull.


Your doctor may not opt chemotherapy for the low-grade chondrosarcoma. It shows no improvement in survival rates. But, some types of chondrosarcoma shows improvement with chemotherapy like:

  • Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma has shown visible changes with the chemotherapy drugs. The drug used to treat osteosarcoma can control the cancer cells effectively.
  • Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma is treated with the combination of the chemotherapy drug to show improvement. It is the high-grade, aggressive form of cancer.

Coping And Support For Chondrosarcoma

Like any other cancer problem, chondrosarcoma can derail your life. It completely changes your life. Therefore, you need to find the apt for coping it. Every person is different. So, each has their own method of coping with the physical and emotional transformations the disease brings. But, when you get the diagnosis for cancer first, you may feel lost. It becomes difficult for you to comprehend what to do next. Here are some tips to help you cope with the problem in a better manner:

Gain Knowledge

It is important that you gain knowledge about your disease. Knowing about the chondrosarcoma can help you make the right decisions about our care. So, you need to speak to your doctor in detail about the disease. Get a comprehensive idea about the different treatment options. Learn about the prognosis to make yourself mentally prepared. Gaining valuable information can make you confident in making the right treatment decisions.

Keep Loved Ones Close

At the time of the emotional upheaval, the presence of loved ones can bring solace. So, keep your dearest family members and friends close. The positive thoughts can provide you mental strength. You can get the practical and emotional support from your loved ones. So, you can deal with the disease confidently. Your family or friends can help you take care of the house and the regular details while you are in the hospital. Therefore, practical support can make your life easy even when you are in the hospital. You may also experience emotional issue due to cancer. In such cases, the good support system can help you overcome mental stress.

Find A Listener

When you go through such a life-changing experience, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. So, you need to talk to someone. Finding a good listener can help you a lot. You can either seek professional guidance or get help from your friends or family circle. It helps you talk about your fears and hope. The concern, as well as an understanding by the listener, can assist you in getting the confidence to defeat the disease. Therefore, seek assistance from friends/family or the following members:

  • Social Worker
  • Clergy Member
  • Cancer Support Group


Chondrosarcoma can change your life. So, you need to make sure you get the treatment at the right time to overcome the problem. Seeking medical assistance at the precise time can help you overcome the problem. Failure to get treatment can make the problem worse. It can lead to complications resulting in death. Therefore, get an accurate idea and make the right choices to save your life.

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