Chondrosarcoma

1 What is Chondrosarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma is a type of primary bone cancer that develops in the cartilage cells.

Primary bone cancers are those that originate in the bone.

Cartilages are specialized connective tissues that play a major role in bone growth. Most commonly, it affects the cartilage cells of your thigh bone, arm, pelvis and knee.

It is a rare occurrence in individuals below 20.

2 Symptoms

The symptoms of chondrosarcoma may vary depending upon the location of the tumor and they tend to be different for different individuals.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Presence of palpable large mass on the affected bone
  • Pain at the affected part: The pain is intense at night and does not go away through rest.
  • Swellings in different body parts (Non-specific local swelling)
  • Limited joint function (reduced joint movement)

3 Causes

No cause of chondrosarcoma has been identified yet.

Genetic factors have been thought to cause chondrosarcoma.

It is also common in people who have received radiation therapy for other cancers.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of Chondrosarcoma is done by performing several tests and procedures.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms that could be indicative of chondrosarcoma. The symptoms are non-specific and your doctor may refer you to a cancer specialist (oncologist) for further investigations and appropriate treatment.

How to prepare yourself for the visit

Getting prepared for the visit can optimize the therapy and help make the visit more fruitful.

  • List out all the symptoms.
  • Write down your key medical information.
  • Write down the names of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.

Make a list of the questions to ask your doctor. Some typical questions can be:

  • What could be possible causes of my symptoms?
  • Are my symptoms severe or mild?
  • What are the tests that I need?
  • What are the treatment options available and side effects of each treatment option?

What your doctor wants to know

A clear talk with your doctor can optimize the therapy and improve the outcomes. Prepare yourself to answer some essential questions from your doctor.

Your doctor might ask you typical questions like:

  • What are your symptoms and when did you start noticing them?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do you have a history of similar symptoms?

The diagnosis starts with question-answer session followed by a physical exam. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests and biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

The diagnostic procedures include:

  • Biopsy: A sample of tissue is removed from the affected part and is analyzed further to determine the presence of specific cancer cells.
  • CT scan: CT scan uses numerous X-rays images tom create a detailed image of the affected part.
  • MRI: An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images.

These imaging techniques help your doctor detect if a tumor is present. It also gives information about tumor size and location.

5 Treatment

The treatment of chondrosarcoma is aimed at removing the cancerous tumor and prevent its recurrence.

The treatments are:

  • Surgery: Your surgeon can surgically remove the tumor on your arm or leg. Unfortunately, some cases of chondrosarcoma result in amputation of the affected limbs.
  • Radiation Therapy: A high dose of radiation is needed for chondrosarcoma.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses specific chemical agents to destroy cancer cells. For chondrosarcoma, chemotherapy is not the primary treatment and may be used if the cancer has spread to other body parts.
  • Physical Therapy: This therapy helps the patients live a quality life through various interventions like exercises for restoring, in part, strength and use of affected part of the body.
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