A chondrosarcoma is a cancer of the cartilage. It is in a category of cancers called sarcomas. Chondrosarcoma is a rare cancer that can affect people of any age. Chondrosarcoma is graded based on how fast it grows. Grade 1 is a low grade (slow growing) cancer, and grades 2 and 3 are high grade (fast growing) cancers. The most common sites are the pelvic bones, shoulder bones and the upper part of the arms and legs.  (http://www.cancerbacup.org.uk/Cancertype/Bone/Typesofbonecancer/Chondrosarcoma#3340)
Because chondrosarcomas are rare, they are usually treated at specialist hospitals with Sarcoma Centers. Musculoskeletal Tumor Specialists or Orthopedic Oncologists are the most qualified to treat chondrosarcoma, unless it is located in the skull, spine, or chest cavity, in which case, a Neurosurgeon or Thoracic surgeon experienced with sarcomas would be needed.
Surgery is the main form of treatment for chondrosarcoma. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy are not very effective for most chondrosarcomas. (http://www.cancerbacup.org.uk/Cancertype/Bone/Typesofbonecancer/Chondrosarcoma#3340) Often, a limb-sparing operation can be performed, however in some cases amputation is unavoidable. Amputation of the arm, leg, jaw, or half of the pelvis (called a hemipelvectomy) may be necessary in some cases.
Because chondrosarcoma affects different parts of the body, the type of treatment depends on the size, location, and grade of the tumor. A doctor with experience treating chondrosarcoma in the area the patient has the tumor is very important for successful treatment.
Chondrosarcoma is considered to be a rare form of bone cancer. Even more rare are chondrosarcoma located in the skull base, spine, rib cage, or larnyx. Complete surgical ablation is the treatment, but sometimes this is difficult. Proton Beam Radiation can be useful in these rare locations to make surgery more effective. Follow up scans are extremely important for chondrosarcoma to make sure there has been no recurrence or metastasis, which usually occurs in the lungs. Unlike other cancers, chondrosarcoma can return many years later.
- A Patient's Guide to Chondrosarcoma (http://www.geocities.com/chondrosarcoma/)
- Chondrosarcoma Support Group at Yahoo! (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Chondrosarcoma/)
- CancerBACUP Chondrosarcoma Info Page (http://www.cancerbacup.org.uk/Cancertype/Bone/Typesofbonecancer/Chondrosarcoma/)
- Bone Tumor.org Fact Page on Chondrosarcoma (http://bonetumor.org/tumors/pages/page39.html)