Complete Information on Chondrosarcoma

By: Juliet Cohen

Chondrosarcoma is a bone cancer types. Chondrosarcoma is a cartilage-based tumor and is in a category of cancers called sarcomas. Chondrosarcomas occur primarily in adults, is rarely encountered during the adolescent years and almost never affects young children. It can be a primary tumor, meaning that it is the original tumor and is not the result from a tumor that spread or it may develop secondary in a pre-existing benign cartilage tumor). A secondary chondrosarcoma can result from a malignant change in benign tumors such as an osteochondroma (a tumor made of bone and cartilage that occurs near the end of a long bone).

Chondrosarcoma most commonly happens in cartilage found in the thigh (femur), humerus, shoulder, ribs and pelvis. It can occur inside the bone or on the surface of the bone. It can be a rapidly growing invasive tumor (high grade) or it can develop slowly (low-grade) causing less severe symptoms and sometimes never spreading. This type of cancer rarely affects individuals under age 20 and is most common between the ages of 50 and 70. The incidence between males and females is equal. Chondrosarcoma occurs when a single abnormal cartilage cell divides out of control.

This cancer can occur in patients with hereditary abnormalities such as Ollier's disease, Maffuci's syndrome or exostoses (bone growths), although this is rarely the case in children. There are many symptoms associated with the onset of chondrosarcomas. They tend to develop slowly in most cases, except when the cancer is aggressive. Mmain symptoms include pain , swelling , firm lump , broken bone , impeded normal range of motion, urinary frequency (seen in pelvic chondrosarcomas) and urinary obstruction (seen in pelvic chondrosarcomas). The symptoms of chondrosarcoma may resemble other conditions or medical problems.

Treatment depends on the location of the disease and the aggressiveness of the tumors. Surgery is the main modality of treatment and is used to remove the tumor. Limb-salvage surgery is sometime necessary to remove all or part of a limb. Chemotherapy is rarely used in chondrosarcoma except for extremely aggressive forms of the disease. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that works by interfering with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce. Chemotherapy may be used alone for some types of cancer or in conjunction with other therapy such as radiation or surgery.

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