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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information on the diagnosis, treatment and more of sarcoma, visit our sarcoma information pages below.