One of the most common types of bone cancer.
It usually grows and spreads slowly. Your doctor may suggest that you have surgery to remove the tumor.
What differentiates chondrosarcoma from other types of bone cancer is that it usually begins in the cartilage (a tough, flexible material that cushions your bones and joints).
Most of the time, chondrosarcoma occurs in the thigh bone, upper arm, shoulders, ribs, or pelvis. It does not happen often, but you can get it in the muscles, nerves and other soft tissues of the arms and legs.
What are the symptoms?
It is not like other cancers that can make you feel sick and annihilated. Instead, you get symptoms directly in the area of the tumor.
You may feel an intense pain that slowly gets worse. It can be especially bad at night or with physical activity, and rest usually does not help.
You can limit how well you can move that part of your body and it can cause you to limp.
You could also have:
- A large bulge or growth of one in your bone.
- Problems urinating if the tumor is in your pelvis.
- Rigidity, swelling, tenderness or feeling of pressure around the tumor.
Who is more likely to develop it? Risk factor’s
It is more common in adults over 40, but doctors usually do not know what causes it. It usually starts in normal cartilage, but it can also grow in certain bone conditions.
You are more likely to have chondrosarcoma if you have:
Enchondromas: These are benign tumors, which means they are not cancerous. They can appear by themselves or with problems such as Maffucci syndrome and Ollier’s disease.
Multiple exostosis syndrome: This gives your bones small bumps made of cartilage.
If you have ever received high doses of radiation for cancer treatment, that can also increase your chances.
What tests will I need?
It can be difficult to distinguish a benign tumor from a slow-growing chondrosarcoma, and the symptoms can sometimes resemble some other bone problem, such as an infection. Your doctor will ask you to perform some tests to find out what is happening.
Your doctor will check your body and ask you questions about your health history, including your symptoms and the diseases that affect your family.
Image tests, you can get any of these:
Bone scans show damage and where the cancer has spread. You take a substance with a low amount of radioactivity that is soaked in cancer cells. Those areas, called hot spots, look dark gray or black in the image.
CT scans are powerful x-rays that make detailed images inside your body. They help your doctor find cancer and see if it moved to other areas.
Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets and radio waves to take pictures of organs and structures. They can show the outline of a tumor.
PET scans use radioactive markers to look inside you and help determine if a tumor is cancerous or not. You can also see if it has spread and find its exact location.
X-rays show the location, shape and size of the tumor.
The biopsy, this is when your doctor takes a sample of the tumor to detect cancer. It can be done with a needle or surgery.
What does the degree mean?
You may hear your doctor talk about the “grade” of your cancer. It’s a way to describe how fast your tumor is growing and how likely it is to spread. You can help your doctor decide the best treatment.
The low grade (I) is slow growing and can often be treated with surgery. It is also less likely to return after treatment.
The intermediate rating (II) grows and spreads faster.
The high degree (III) spreads faster.
It depends on the size, location and grade of your tumor, as well as your age and general health.
Surgery: This is the main type of treatment. Your doctor removes the tumor along with part of the nearby healthy tissue to make sure all the cancer is removed.
That means you can lose some bone, cartilage and muscle. If so, you may need an implant, bone graft, rods and screws to hold your bone.
If the cancer is near a joint, such as a hip or knee, you may need to replace it.
If it is in your arm or leg, your doctor will do everything possible to try to keep your limb. But it can not always be done. In that case, you will get one made by man instead.
Cryosurgery: To reduce the chances of the cancer coming back, your doctor may also put liquid nitrogen in the area where the tumor was. It freezes and kills any cancer cells that may have been lost.
Physiotherapy: To reuse your body completely, you will usually need a lot of rehabilitation. This is a key part of the recovery and may take some time.
Radiation therapy: You would only get this because of a high-grade tumor. You may need a high dose to work well.