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Chondrosarcoma(Cartilage Cancer; Cancer of the Cartilage)

Pronounced: KAHN-dro-sar-KO-ma

Definition

Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer. It grows in cartilage cells in the body. Cartilage is connective tissue.

This cancer is typically found in the cartilage cells of the femur, arm, pelvis, knee, and spine. Rarely, the ribs and other areas may also be affected.

Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. They can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Cartilage

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Causes

The cause of this cancer is not fully known. Some cases may be due to genetics.

Risk Factors

Certain factors seem to be common among individuals who develop chondrosarcoma. These include:

  • Enchondroma—a non-cancerous bone tumor often found in the hands
  • Osteochondroma —excess cartilage or bone found at the end of a growth plate
  • Multiple osteochondromas—bone tumors
  • Ollier's disease, which causes a group of enchondromas
  • Maffucci's syndrome, which causes a combination of multiple endochondromas and various tumors
Symptoms

The most common symptoms of chondrosarcoma include:

  • Large lump or mass on a bone
  • Pressure surrounding the mass
  • Pain that worsens at night
  • Pain that does not improve with rest
  • Pain that gradually worsens over time and may last for years
Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

You may need tests of your bodily fluids and tissue. This can be done with:

You may need to have pictures taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment can vary based on your age, overall health, and stage of the disease. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:

Surgery

Surgery is the most effective way to remove the tumor. It is more effective than chemotherapy and radiation. Physical therapy may be used to help the area heal after surgery.

Radiation Therapy

High energy x-rays may be used to target and kill cancer cells.

Other Therapies

Drugs that kill tumor cells may be used. The use of chemotherapy may depend on the type of chondrosarcoma that you have.

Prevention

The cause of chondrosarcoma is not fully understood. There are no known preventive steps for this condition.

RESOURCES:

Children's Hospital Boston
http://www.childrenshospital.org

National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

BC Cancer Agency
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca

HealthLink BC
http://bchealthguide.org

References:

Chondrosarcoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 26, 2013. Accessed June 28, 2013.

Chow WA. Update on chondrosarcomas. Curr. Opin. Oncol. 2007;19:371-376.

DeGroot H. Chondrosarcoma. Bonetumor.org website. Available at: http://www.bonetumor.org/tumors/pages/page39.html. Accessed June 28, 2013.

Lewis VO. What’s new in musculoskeletal oncology. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007;89:1399-1407.

What is chondrosarcoma? The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative website. Available at: http://sarcomahelp.org/chondrosarcoma.html. Updated October 2012. Accessed June 28, 2013.



Last reviewed May 2014 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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