Overview

Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that originates from the cartilage. Cartilage is a connective tissue that covers the bones, act as a cushion in the joint surfaces. This type of cancer is commonly found in the pelvis, hip, and shoulder.

The signs and symptoms of most chondrosarcomas are not visible at first due to their slow growth. Other rare types have a rapid growth making it harder to treat, as there is a high risk for the spread to other parts of the body.

There are many types of chondrosarcoma such as the following:

  • Clear cell chondrosarcoma: commonly found in men between the ages 30-50 years old. It mostly grows slowly and tends not to spread to other parts of the body.
  • Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma: commonly found in older adults and prone to have a rapid progression. This mimics a high-grade sarcoma and occurs when there is a change in the cells from that of a typical chondrosarcoma.
  • Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma – affects the younger adults. It tends to progress quickly and recur.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chondrosarcoma depend on location of the tumor, the following symptoms may indicate the disease:

  • Bone pain or swelling of the area
  • Weakness
  • Problems of bowel or bladder control
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Causes

The causes of chondrosarcoma are unknown. Cancer generally begins when there are changes in the cell’s DNA which are the instructions that specify to a cell as to what to do. The cells then multiply and destroy the normal tissue as well as further spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase chondrosarcoma risk includes:

  • Age: the disease commonly affects middle-aged and older adults.
  • Certain bone diseases: The following diseases Ollier’s disease/ Maffucci’s disease are those type of diseases that cause noncancerous growths at the bones which could further become chondrosarcoma.