Chondrosarcoma: Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis

Overview

Chondrosarcoma is a malignant bone tumor that usually begins in the cells that produce cartilage.

In most cases, the condition arises from the bones, but it also has been found in the soft tissues near the bones. Most commonly, chondrosarcoma occurs in the thighbone, upper arm bone, shoulders, ribs, or pelvis.

As one of the most common types of bone cancer, chondrosarcoma has several types.

Some types of chondrosarcomas grow at a slow rate and can be surgically removed completely while others may grow in a rapid manner and the tumors also have a higher risk of spreading to other parts of the body. That’s also the reason why the prognosis for chondrosarcoma varies.

Moreover, chondrosarcoma is one of the most difficult bone tumors to diagnose and treat.

Every single year, about 600 people are diagnosed to have the disease in the United States. Typically, chondrosarcoma affects people between the age of 20 to 60 years old. However, it is most commonly seen in people at their 40s to 50s. What’s more, men have a slightly higher risk of getting chondrosarcoma than women.

 

Causes

At present, the exact reason for chondrosarcoma remains unknown. However, some studies suggest that chondrosarcoma may be associated with genetic mutations.

Also, people with certain medical conditions may have a higher risk of getting the disease. These diseases may include:

  • Ollier’s Disease
  • Maffucci Syndrome
  • Multiple Hereditary Exostoses
  • Wilms’ Tumor
  • Paget’s disease
  • Diseases in children that required previous treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Enchondromas
  • Multiple exostoses syndrome

 

Symptoms

People with chondrosarcoma may not feel sick at first. But as time goes by, people with the condition will be very likely to experience bone pain. Even if they try to have a rest, the bone pain may still linger.

Chondrosarcoma signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Increasing pain
  • A swelling or palpable mass
  • Fracture due to weakened bone
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Weakness
  • Hormonal dysfunction

 

Diagnosis

In general, the doctor will conduct a physical examination first and check the patient’s symptoms.

After the physical examination, the patient with chondrosarcoma may need to have an X-ray test.

Then, since it’s a diagnostic dilemma to tell the difference between a benign tumor and a low-grade malignant lesion, it is necessary to use additional tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) scans to help the doctor to better visualize the tumor.

Also, to give a detailed diagnosis, a biopsy of the tumor must be examined in the laboratory so that a definite diagnosis of chondrosarcoma can be made. Based on the diagnosis, the doctor tends to develop different treatment plans according to different situations.

 

Treatment

The fundamental goal of chondrosarcoma treatment is to remove the tumor completely.

Given that the fact that chemotherapy and radiation therapy do not work on chondrosarcoma, surgery is now the main treatment approach for the disease.

Based on the location of the tumor and its involvement with other structures, the doctor is likely to remove the tumor and its surrounding healthy tissues together so as to make sure of complete removal. That is to say, the patient with chondrosarcoma might lose some bones, cartilage, and muscle in the surgical process.

In most conditions, the doctor will try his or her best to keep the patient’s limb. However, in some cases, it can’t be done. Under such circumstances, the patients need to have man-made one in its place.

There are other surgical options available according to where the tumor is as well, including:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery.

This procedure uses a highly focused beam of radiation to target the cancer cells. In the process, other healthy cells won’t be affected. But this method is not very effective because chondrosarcoma is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

  • Liquid nitrogen.

In order to make sure that cancer does not return, the doctor may put liquid nitrogen in the tumor-growing area.

Apart from the surgery, there are also other therapies available to help the patient to recover better and faster, including:

  • Proton radiation therapy.

If chondrosarcoma is located in the base of the skull, proton radiation therapy may help to reduce some of the symptoms.

  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Although chondrosarcoma is resistant to the two therapies, for patients with recurrent disease, the two therapies may still be helpful.

  • Physical therapy.

After the surgery, physical therapy can be helpful for the patient to bounce back.

 

Prognosis

Depending on the location and severity of the tumor, prognosis for chondrosarcoma patients may vary from person to person. Generally speaking, low-grade tumors have a more excellent prognosis while higher-grade tumors are usually more likely to recur and spread to other parts of the body.

 

Keyword: chondrosarcoma.

 

Related Posts:

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What About the Prognosis of Chondrosarcoma?

What Is the Life Expectancy of Chondrosarcoma?

Could You Tell Me Some Types of Sarcoma?

Can You Show Me Some Pictures of Different Types of Sarcoma?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.