Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that forms in the cells of cartilage. Symptoms can vary but may include swelling and pain in the area of the tumor. Surgery is usually the first treatment for chondrosarcoma.

Cartilage is the tough, flexible tissue that covers the ends of the bones, providing a cushion in between the joints. Cartilage also makes up several body parts such as the ears and nose.

Chondrosarcoma develops in the cells of cartilage. It can develop at any age but typically affects people over the age of 40 years.

This article discusses what causes chondrosarcoma, how common the condition is, how a doctor may diagnose the condition, symptoms, treatments, and more.

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The symptoms of chondrosarcoma can be different for each person, depending on the size and location of the tumor.

The most common symptoms of chondrosarcoma are pain and swelling in the area of the tumor.

Other symptoms can include pain that does not go away when a person rests, and a large lump on the bone that has chondrosarcoma.

Symptoms of chondrosarcoma typically last for a long period. A person may experience symptoms for several months or years.

There is not one exact cause of chondrosarcoma, and the development of these tumors can be unpredictable.

Chromosomes are structures in the cells that contain DNA. Sometimes, chromosomes in the body break apart and reform incorrectly. This can cause the cells to malfunction, and it may lead to chondrosarcoma.

It can also develop when benign tumors in the cartilage, such as osteochondroma and enchondroma, turn into malignant, or cancerous, tumors.

If a person is experiencing symptoms of chondrosarcoma such as pain and swelling, a doctor may perform several tests to diagnose the condition.

A doctor may first perform an imaging test such as a CT scan or MRI scan to assess the size and location of the tumor. They may also check the rest of the body to see if the cancer has spread.

If a doctor finds a tumor, they will need to take a biopsy to determine if the tumor is chondrosarcoma. Using a needle, a doctor will extract a small tissue sample from the tumor and send it for examination at the laboratory.

The treatment a person may require for chondrosarcoma can depend on the size and location of the tumor.


Typically, the first treatment a doctor will recommend is surgery.

For more serious grades of chondrosarcoma, a surgeon will typically use the procedure known as wide en bloc excision, during which they remove the entire tumor and surrounding tissue.

If the chondrosarcoma is low grade, a surgeon may be able to remove the tumor using the process of intralesional curettage. This process removes the tumor piece by piece through a small incision.

This may cause less damage than removing the whole tumor and surrounding tissue. However, a surgeon may not be able to remove the entire tumor using intralesional curettage, which can lead to chondrosarcoma re-occurring.

Radiation therapy

If surgery is not an option for a person with chondrosarcoma, a doctor may recommend radiation therapy. This can also be effective after surgery to reduce the likelihood of chondrosarcoma re-occurring.


Chemotherapy may be a course of treatment for chondrosarcoma if a person is not able to undergo surgery or if the cancer has spread to another part of the body. However, chemotherapy is not typically effective in treating most types of chondrosarcoma.

Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer. It accounts for approximately 10–20% of all cancerous bone tumors.

It affects approximately 1 in every 200,000 people per year in the United States.

Chondrosarcoma is more common in adults.

There is no evidence to suggest that chondrosarcoma runs in families. However, multiple osteochondroma, which may lead to chondrosarcoma, can run in families.

Approximately 15 in 100 people with multiple osteochondroma will develop chondrosarcoma.

Here are some frequently asked questions about chondrosarcoma.

What is the survival rate for chondrosarcoma?

The outlook for chondrosarcoma can be different for each person. It may depend on the size and location of the tumor and if the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

Research suggests that the average 5-year survival rate for a person with chondrosarcoma is 75.2%. However, if chondrosarcoma has spread to another part of the body, the average 5-year survival rate is 45.7%.

The survival rate refers to the proportion of people who are still alive for a length of time after receiving a particular diagnosis. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 50% means that 50%, or half, of the people are still alive 5 years after receiving the diagnosis.

It is important to remember that these figures are estimates and are based on the results of previous studies or treatments. A person can consult a healthcare professional about how their condition is going to affect them.

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Is chondrosarcoma cancer curable?

Depending on the size and location of the tumor, it may be possible to cure chondrosarcoma with surgery. A person’s doctor can provide them with information about their outlook.

What is the most common location of chondrosarcoma?

The most common locations of chondrosarcoma are in the bones of the pelvis, the long bone in the upper arm, the thigh, and the ribs.

Chondrosarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer that develops in the cells of cartilage.

Typical symptoms of chondrosarcoma are pain and swelling at the site of the tumor. A person may experience pain for a number of months or years.

To diagnose chondrosarcoma, a doctor may perform various imaging tests before taking a biopsy.

Surgery is typically the first form of treatment for chondrosarcoma. A person may also need chemotherapy and radiotherapy if chondrosarcoma has spread into other parts of the body. However, neither is typically successful at treating most types of chondrosarcoma.