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Chondrosarcoma is a type of sarcoma (bone or soft tissue cancer) that consists of cartilage-producing cells. Cartilage is a firm but flexible tissue that cushions bone endings and forms the structure of several body parts, such as the nose, ear and spinal discs. Chondrosarcoma can affect many areas of the body, but most often occurs in the arm, ribs, pelvis, thighbone and knee.
What are the signs of chondrosarcoma?
The symptoms of chondrosarcoma will vary according to the location of the tumor and its size. Possible chondrosarcoma symptoms include:
- A visible mass, sometimes with surrounding pain and pressure
- Localized swelling
- Worsening pain
- A fracture resulting from weakened bone
- Pain that increases in the evening and does not improve with rest, although it may respond to anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Numbness, tingling sensations or incontinence, if the tumor presses against the spinal cord
Who is at risk for chondrosarcoma?
Chondrosarcoma can occur at any age, although most cases are seen in middle-aged and older adults. It rarely occurs in individuals younger than 20. Because this cancer grows from cartilaginous tissues and bone, having preexisting noncancerous (benign) growths can increase the risk of eventually developing chondrosarcoma.
Problems that may lead to chondrosarcoma include:
- Enchondromas – Benign bone tumors stemming from cartilage
- Ollier disease – A grouping of multiple enchondromas, often on the hands
- Maffuci syndrome – Angiomas (benign tumors composed of blood vessels) that occur alongside enchondromas
- Multiple exostoses – A cluster of osteochondromas (growths of bone and cartilage)
Treatment for chondrosarcoma typically involves surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissues, along with radiation therapy or chemotherapy to help destroy remaining cancer cells. Physical therapy may also be recommended to restore strength and mobility following surgery.
Chondrosarcoma treatment at Moffitt
Moffitt Cancer Center provides comprehensive diagnostics and progressive treatment options to patients with chondrosarcoma. Led by a multispecialty team the focuses exclusively on bone and soft tissue cancers, Moffitt’s Sarcoma Program develops individualized treatment plans for each patient and refines them as necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes and quality of life.