Chondrosarcoma is one of the most common forms of bone sarcomas treated at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics and orthopedic surgery practices around the world. A slow-growing cancer of unknown origin, it makes up an estimated 40% of bone sarcomas in the United States. In this blog, we’ll discuss what it is, how it is identified, and how it is treated.
As always, the content of this blog is not meant for self-diagnosis and is no substitute for medical consultation or examination. If you or a loved one is concerned that they may be suffering from chondrosarcoma, reach out to professionals like those at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics as soon as possible.
Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone sarcoma that occurs most often in the pelvis, hip, and shoulder but can develop in other bones. Like all bone sarcomas, it is exceptionally rare, but among bone sarcomas specifically, it is the most commonly diagnosed.
Chondrosarcoma is typically a slow-growing cancer, meaning it takes some time before it is formally diagnosed. Most often, it is identified when examining other areas of the body, then diagnosed with a biopsy. The slower chondrosarcomas grow, the less likely they are to metastasize in other parts of the body.
A unique fact about chondrosarcoma that separates it from other bone sarcomas is that its cells actually produce cartilage.
Unfortunately, it is not known precisely what causes Chondrosarcoma. There is evidence that suggests certain genetic mutations and chromosomal conditions make an individual most susceptible to having chondrosarcoma. Other presumed causes include benign cartilage lesions becoming cancers as well as chondrosarcoma arising as a result of the radiation therapy used to treat other cancers.
The symptoms of chondrosarcoma occur in & around the bone being affected by the sarcoma. These generally include:
When the affected area includes the spinal cord/base of the skull, additional symptoms may include:
However, as we stated, chondrosarcoma is rarely found through the identification of symptoms. Instead, it’s typically found through imaging for other reasons and confirmed through biopsy.
Chondrosarcoma is typically treated through surgical intervention, with the type of surgery depending on where the sarcoma is located. In some cases, such as when the cancer is at the base of the skull and can’t safely be removed with surgery, radiation may be employed. Because chemotherapy is most effective with fast-growing cancers, it is minimally effective with chondrosarcoma.
As with all surgeries to remove a sarcoma, our goal is always to remove the tumor without impacting healthy bone and surrounding tissue. In most cases, the bone can be salvaged with minimal reconstruction. However, amputation may be the best course of action in certain situations.
We hope this high-level discussion of Chondrosarcoma was insightful and enlightening. The team at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics places a high value on informing our audience and improving the medical literacy of all we impact.
As we mentioned above, if you or a loved one believe you are experiencing some of the symptoms we discussed, please do not hesitate to reach out to GDO today and schedule a consultation.