Chondrosarcoma is a type of rare bone cancer affecting the bones of pelvis, legs and shoulders. This cancer begins its infection on the bone and on rare cases it can arise even outside the bone cartilages on the adjacent muscles. It affects only adults of age group between 25-65years. It is largely found in leg bones and pelvic bones but it may occur in any part of the body.
Next to osteosarcoma (bone cancer), chondrosarcoma is the common type of bone cancer forming tumors inside the bone. Surgery and chemotherapy are the best treatments available for curing this aggressive form of bone cancer. Early detection will help fast recovery from cancerous cells.
Exact cause of chondrosarcoma is unknown. People with autoimmune disorder and underlying medical issues have increased chance of getting this bone cancer.
Certain diseases like Wilm’s tumor, Ollier’s disease, Pageg’s disease, Maffuci Syndrome and multiple hereditary exostoses can cause bone cancer.
How far it is aggressive ?
Many types of chondrosarcoma produce only low grade tumors. The bone cells grow like tumors and looks like normal cartilage in mild form of bone cancer (conventional chondrosarcoma). In intermediate type, the cells will look very much like cartilage but will have malignant changes. In severe form of bone cancer, (Dedifferentiated and mesenchymal type) the cells grow rapidly and change its size and shape quickly.
There are no visible symptoms since the person having chondrosarcoma will not get sick. They will have difficulty in moving legs and walking. There may be pain, discomfort, swelling on the legs that would restrict movements.
Physical examination of the affected part and X-ray test will reveal the presence of tumor. The doctor may conduct additional tests like CT scan or MRI scanning for diagnosing the size of tumor and how far it has progressed.
Surgery is the best option when compared to chemotherapy and radiation methods. The tumors present inside the bone are removed by freezing and cutting by means of cryotherapy or curettage. Often it occurs on the limbs and hence the purpose of surgery is to save the limbs primarily. They have many options in surgery and the method of surgery is based on the size of the tumor and the area which it has affected and spread. Sometime it affects the neighborhood blood vessels and even the joints causing more damage.
In autograft procedure the surgeon will implant fresh healthy bone tissue on the affected limb after removing the destroyed cancerous tissue from there. This method has less chance of getting infection since the donor is the same person.
In allograft technique, tendons and ligaments from the donor is used to rebuild the lost bone of the affected person. The tumor caused by chondrosarcoma is removed surgically and is replaced by the donor’s tissue and tendons for raising fresh bone cells.
Nowadays prosthetic implants are widely used owing to its availability in all sizes. Limb salvage surgery is commonly used technique and amputation of the leg is the last option when the cancerous cells do not respond to any other type of treatment.
Often many types of chondrosarcoma do not get treated properly by chemotherapy and hence surgery is the best option for complete recovery quickly. Only for mesenchymal chondrosarcoma chemotherapy is effective and not for others.