The chondrosarcoma is a special form of malignant tumor. A malignant tumor is a malignant cellular form that belongs to the group of cancer diseases. This cancer occurs predominantly in men and is a special form of bone cancer. Chondrosarcoma does not respond particularly well to chemotherapy. Secondary chondrosarcoma can result from the previous spread of metastases from another type of cancer.
What is a chondrosarcoma?
To define the chondrosarcoma in more detail, it must be separated from the osteosarcoma. The osteosarcoma is grow a form of bone cancer, such as serious illness called colloquially in the cells of the bone uncontrollably.
In chondrosarcoma, dangerous cell malformations occur within the cartilage mass of a bone. To differentiate the chondrosarcoma from the chondroma, it is said that the chondroma quantitatively causes less cell growth. The disease is the second most common disease that belongs to the group of bone cancer.
The cancer affects men far more often than women. This form of cancer causes relatively little pain and occurs mainly in the trunk area or on the thighbone, but also in the area of the shoulder blade. If no other causes for the symptoms can be found, the treating doctor will take the necessary steps. The patients often complain of pain in the area of the disease, they suffer from painful or painless swellings.
Drowsiness is reported as well as a certain drop in performance. Often times, severe, unwanted weight loss can occur. Patients report swelling of the lymph nodes and unusual paleness. All these symptoms should be clarified by the doctor, who then still does not have to diagnose a chondrosarcoma.
Experts can say little that can be used to explain the causes of the disease. Chondrosarcoma occurs mainly in men over 30, and more often from the sixth decade of life. Chondrosarcoma may recur or occur for the first time in people who have had chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
In the worst case, a chondrosarcoma can lead to death. This case usually occurs when the chondrosarcoma is left untreated and the cancer can spread to the person’s body as a result. The patients suffer from very severe pain in the affected region and often from swelling or swelling of the lymph nodes.
The patient’s quality of life is significantly reduced and restricted by the disease. Furthermore, there is permanent fatigue and exhaustion of the person concerned, so that most patients can no longer participate properly in everyday life. The patient’s resilience also drops significantly, so that strenuous physical activities or sports can no longer be carried out without further ado.
As a result, everyday life is significantly restricted, with some affected people also depending on the help of other people. A chondrosarcoma can also lead to severe paleness. Most patients appear drowsy or confused and therefore also suffer from impaired coordination or concentration. Psychological complaints can also arise from a chondrosarcoma, whereby the relatives often suffer from psychological disorders. As a rule, the life expectancy of the patient is greatly reduced by a chondrosarcoma.
In order to be able to diagnose a chondrosarcoma, a precise anamnesis should first be carried out. In the case of an anamnesis, the patient’s medical history is queried and used for the diagnosis. An inspection is then carried out on the undressed patient.
Here, inspection is a medical term for an examination. An incisional biopsy must be performed to accurately determine the chondrosarcoma. The biopsy channel should then be removed, as otherwise it is likely that implantation metastases in the tissue in question will seriously endanger the recovery process. Before doing this, one begins to use X-ray imaging, MRI and blood tests to determine whether the patient may have a chondrosarcoma.
Ultrasound devices are also used to find the possibly malignant tissue. According to current statistics, according to medical classification, patients have a prospect of around five years of life after cancer treatment.
Chondrosarcoma is a serious symptom that can lead to various complications. Since this is a cancer, it cannot be universally predicted. In most cases, the patient does not notice the chondrosarcoma directly.
There is slight pain, but it is perceived as ordinary and harmless. It is also not obvious to the doctor if the patient has a chondrosarcoma. If the tumor spreads further, pain and drowsiness may be felt. It is difficult for the patient to concentrate and there is usually a marked decrease in performance.
The tumor causes severe weight loss. This occurs even if the patient does not change their diet. The underweight weakens the immune system and the patient feels limp and powerless. The treatment is only successful in a few cases and only slows the progression of the chondrosarcoma.
The disease usually leads to death. The treatment is primarily designed for surgical interventions and radiation and chemotherapy. This can slow down the spread of the tumor. In mild cases, the bone tissue is completely removed. Serious cases do not respond to treatment. Here, after a while, death occurs.
When should you go to the doctor?
The chances of recovery from malignant chondrosarcoma as a cartilage tumor depend to a large extent on the earliest possible diagnosis. Because far advanced findings can often only be treated palliatively. The symptoms of chondrosarcoma are so insidious because at the beginning of the disease there are usually no or very few symptoms. The faster and further the tumor grows, the more swelling and pain will occur in the affected soft tissue area.
Painful restrictions on movement can also be the result of a rapidly growing chondrosarcoma. It always depends on the location and size of the malignant cartilage tumor whether and to what extent symptoms occur. The doctor should be consulted at the latest as soon as these symptoms are noticed individually or in combination.
A comprehensive anamnesis with radiological and hematological diagnostics should then be carried out immediately. Due to the malignant tumor, the affected bone also loses its strength significantly, which is why bone fractures can occur spontaneously without external influence. In this case, too, a specialist should be consulted immediately. Any limited mobility of a limb should be reason enough to consult a doctor.
This is especially true for patients who have already been diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in the past. In addition, around half of those affected develop a feeling of illness with fever in the early stages of the disease. A doctor should also be consulted with these general symptoms, especially if the fever does not remit after three days at the latest, i.e. if it recedes.
Treatment & Therapy
Since the chondrosarcoma is particularly resistant to radiation and does not respond particularly well to chemotherapy, it is usually operated on surgically. Amputations are not necessary in the majority of cases.
Tumor endoprostheses are often used for the joints in the affected parts of the body in order to achieve rapid recovery and resilience as well as high mobility. At the same time, the effect is achieved that the malignant, i.e. diseased bone tissue has been removed from the body. Although, as mentioned, chemotherapy and radiation treatment may be less effective compared to other types of cancer, both are used therapeutically in chondrosarcoma as needed.
In addition to chemotherapy, which is often unfortunately very high, radiation with carbon ions or protons is used as a supportive means to eliminate the chondrosarcoma. If there is a hopeless form of the disease, palliative treatment is ultimately given.
Outlook & forecast
Chondrosarcoma has an unfavorable prognosis. However, it is essentially dependent on the early detection and the general state of health of the patient. If there are other illnesses or if the patient is of an old age, the chances of a cure decrease considerably.
Since bone cancer usually forms new metastases within a short period of time, early treatment is necessary. Otherwise, the cancer cells will continue to spread rapidly in the organism and can lead to further cancer diseases. This means that the chances of recovery decrease many times over if the start of therapy is delayed.
Many patients suffer a significant reduction in average life expectancy as a result of the disease. According to statistics, about 5 years after the onset of chondrosarcoma, only 30% of patients are still alive. What makes it particularly difficult is that the usual cancer therapy in the case of chondrosarcoma is very poor. Despite a surgical procedure, the disease is rarely considered to be completely cured.
In addition, there are numerous sequelae and lifelong impairments from the chondrosarcoma. Movement restrictions and mental disorders are increasingly diagnosed in patients, which contributes to a significant reduction in quality of life. The relapse rate of chondrosarcoma is comparatively high. If the bone cancer is diagnosed again in the course of life, the chances of survival decrease by one more.
Because the causes of chondrosarcoma are largely unknown, in the best case one can advise to lead a healthy lifestyle. A balanced, healthy diet shouldn’t do any harm, nor should sufficient exercise. Fresh air and the pursuit of emotional wellbeing may be as beneficial as avoiding excessive stress. It goes without saying that tobacco and other carcinogenic poisons should be avoided.
For follow-up care following the operation of a chondrosarcoma, there are currently only plans for study patients. Doctors generally recommend a follow-up phase of up to five years for sarcomas and tumors. The appointments for routine examinations in particular play a very important role for the patient during this time. Depending on the degree of malignancy of the disease, an interval of four to six or two to four months is recommended for local and systemic examinations.
However, there are no general recommendations for follow-up care for bone sarcomas, which include chondrosarcoma. That is why there is always an individual consultation in which the patients receive all the necessary information from their doctor. As part of the follow-up care, analyzes of local recurrences, distant metastases and, if necessary, local problems with the reconstruction of extremities are carried out.
The relationship of trust between patient and doctor plays an extremely important role here. In this context, the individual test results and questions about the diagnosis of spread are important topics that absolutely must be discussed. Planning postoperative therapy is also an important element of follow-up care. However, there are no reliable indications of the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic treatments for this indication.
You can do that yourself
Chondrosarcoma is a serious illness and requires extensive medical treatment. After the diagnosis, those affected should speak to various specialists and, in consultation with them, decide on a suitable therapy. In cooperation with experts in the field of tumor diseases, an individual therapy can be developed that is optimally tailored to the patient’s constitution.
The actual chemotherapy can be supported by rest and bed rest. An adapted diet improves well-being and can reduce individual symptoms such as skin irritation or pain. In the long term, those affected should consult a therapist. Exchanging ideas with a specialist is particularly important in the case of severe tumor diseases.
If necessary, the therapist can also establish contact with other affected persons or recommend further measures to the patient. Attending a self-help group in particular helps many tumor patients to understand their disease and learn to deal with it.
In addition, close monitoring by the doctor is necessary in every case. If unusual symptoms occur, the doctor must be informed. The use of alternative therapy methods should also be discussed in advance with the responsible doctor.