Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer that forms a tumour derived from the cells that produce cartilage. It is a tumour of the bone and joints (connective tissue), and is categorized as a sarcoma (tumour arising in the connective tissues of the body).

The cancer usually begins in the bones of the arms, legs or pelvis. However, it is not limited to these, and can occur in any part of the body that contains cartilage.

In the event of onset of chondrosarcoma, you may feel a localized pain in the bones of the legs, pelvis or arms, the intensity of which may vary between being either dull or becoming extreme especially during rest. However, it can occur in any cartilaginous part of the body. The intensity usually progresses to become more painful over time. You may also feel swelling in the area marked by pain. Upon physical examination, you may be able to feel a mass or a lump, which puts pressure on the adjoining bones and area. You may experience limited movement of the affected limb owing to tumour enlargement. In the case of the cancer affecting your bones to the extent of weakening them, you may suffer a bone fracture due to a mild injury that might be symptomatic of chondrosarcoma.
If you are experiencing persistent pain over a prolonged period of time, take notice. If your pain is growing in intensity or upon physical examination, you notice a lump or bony mass, go see a doctor. Limping or facing difficulty in moving a limb where the pain persists, is indicative of a problem. You should make an appointment at the earliest with the Oncology Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital for diagnosis.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so makes sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
To diagnose the probability of chondrosarcoma, your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and the incidence of cancer in your family. You will then undergo a physical examination where the doctor will examine your affected area for swelling and soreness and possible causes of inflammation. If ample evidence points towards cancer, you will be directed to take an x-ray of the area. Apart from the x-ray you may be asked to take other tests as well. These can include a bone scan, Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. If either of these tests report irregularities in the bone, you will be asked to have a biopsy for confirmation. You might also have to take a MRI scan of the area to determine how far the tumour has perpetrated the tissues.
Chondrosarcoma does not respond well to radiation therapy/chemotherapy. In the attempts to treat chondrosarcoma, you will be presented with the standard treatment of undergoing limb salvage surgery. The surgery includes removal of the cancerous growth (in the bone and cartilage) alongside adjoining healthy tissue from the bone. The bone may be replaced by a bone transplant or metal prosthesis. In the event of the cancer progressing to a later stage, you may have to undergo amputation, where all or part of the limb is removed to curb the cancer from spreading to the other tissues of the body. You will receive an artificial limb to facilitate movement which will later be replaced by a permanent prosthetic.

In very cases you will receive chemotherapy. While it is ineffective in treating chondrosarcoma, it is often used to kill off any remaining cancer cells.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.