What is Chondrosarcoma?Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that affects the cartilage surrounding bones. Chondrosarcoma is usually a slow-growing tumour that is found upon the surface of bones. Unexplained pain around the tumour area is the most common symptom. Common areas for Chondrosarcoma to develop include:
- Upper arms (or humerus)
- Legs and thighs
Causes and Risk Factors for Chondrosarcoma:The cause of Chondrosarcoma remains unknown. However, a few potential risk factors have been identified. A risk factor is something the increases the likelihood of Chondrosarcoma occurring. Presence of several risk factors does not guarantee that Chondrosarcoma will develop and an absence of any risk factors does not mean that tumours will not develop. Common risk factors for Chondrosarcoma include:
- Enchondroma – an enchondroma is a small cartilage cyst found in bone marrow. If you have a history of cartilage cysts, you are at a higher risk of developing Chondrosarcoma.
- Benign bone tumours – If you have a history of benign (non-cancerous) bone tumours, you are at a higher risk.
- Other bone conditions – Sufferers of Maffucci syndrome and Ollier disease are more prone to developing Chondrosarcoma.
Symptoms of ChondrosarcomaEarly diagnosis and treatment allow doctors to treat cancers such as Chondrosarcoma more effectively. For this reason, it is important that if you notice any symptoms, you see a doctor as soon as possible. Below are some of the most common symptoms of Chondrosarcoma:
- Pain in the affected area – The most common symptom is pain in the area of the tumour. This pain may come in the form of Sciatica, which is a condition where the pain is experienced down the back, outside or front of the leg. Since Chondrosarcoma develops most commonly on the arms, legs, shoulders and ribs, you should be wary of pain in these areas.
- Weak bones – Sometimes, the bone can become weakened due to cancer. This can result in it breaking or fracturing after a minor impact. Broken bones (and the x-rays and imaging that follow) are often how bone cancers such as Chondrosarcoma are diagnosed.
Treatment for Chondrosarcoma:
SurgeryChondrosarcoma is a type of tumour that is mostly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For this reason, most doctors will recommend surgery to remove a mass. The type of surgery recommended will depend on the stage, location and aggressiveness of a tumour. Below are some of the most common forms of surgery:
- Removal of the tumour via surgery -During this surgery, doctors will attempt to remove the tumour as well as a section of healthy tissue around it. This reduces the chances of a tumour growing back over time. This type of surgery can be done when the cancer is in its early stages and has not spread.
- Limb-sparing surgery – Limb-Sparing surgery is when part of a bone or joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one. This type of surgery is done as an ideal alternative to amputation if the cancer has spread throughout a bone.
- Amputation – Unfortunately, amputation is sometimes the only option to remove bone cancer from a limb. This usually happens because cancer has spread to nearby nerves and blood vessels.