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About chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of sarcoma that develops in the bones and soft tissues of the body. Most cases of chondrosarcoma begin in the bones, while a smaller number develop in the soft tissues away from the bones. This sarcoma is most often found to affect middle-aged and older adults.

Key points:

  • Chondrosarcoma is a type of tumor that forms in the bones or soft tissue.
  • Signs and symptoms of chondrosarcoma include redness and swelling at the site of the tumor, as well as limping or decreased use of the affected limb.
  • Diagnosis of chondrosarcoma can come from a number of tests such as x-rays, MRI, and CT scans, as well as biopsy. Read more on these tests below.
  • Chondrosarcoma diagnosis

    To properly diagnose chondrosarcoma, your doctor may have you take one or more of the following tests:

    • Imaging Test. An X-ray image is recommended to examine a lump in question, and may be followed by an X-ray of your chest to check if the chondrosarcoma has spread to your lungs. These tests may reveal abnormalities that your healthcare providers are searching for.
    • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan. CT scans are X-ray images most useful for detecting if a chondrosarcoma has formed in the chest, abdomen, or the retroperitoneum.
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan. An MRI scan uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of X-rays to take pictures of the body. A computer translates the patterns into a very detailed image of parts of the body in question. MRI scans take longer than CT scans – usually around an hour.
    • Biopsy Tissue Sample. A biopsy removes tissue or cells to be checked by a pathologist under a microscope. Results from a biopsy help determine if abnormal cells are cancer. Your doctor may perform this procedure in a variety of ways including fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy and core needle biopsy. Ask your provider about your specific type of biopsy to learn more.
  • Treatment

    Once chondrosarcoma has been diagnosed, you have options for treatment including:

    • Surgery. This is the most common treatment for chondrosarcoma. If the chondrosarcoma is located in a limb, a procedure will be done to attempt removing the sarcoma without the limb. In some cases, amputation may be necessary.
    • Radiation Therapy. It is common for patients to use radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells following a surgery.
    • Chemotherapy. This treatment is less common for treating chondrosarcoma, but it may be used if the bone cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Prognosis factors

    The factors that affect prognosis, or chance of recovery, are different before and after treatment.

    Before treatment, prognosis can depend on factors such as:

    • Whether tumor has spread to lymph nodes.
    • Where in the body the tumor started.
    • Whether the tumor formed in the bone or in soft tissue.
    • How large the tumor is when diagnosed.

    After treatment, prognosis can depend on factors such as:

    • Whether the tumor was completely removed by surgery.
    • Whether the tumor responds to radiation therapy or chemotherapy.