Symptoms of Chondrosarcoma

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Chondrosarcoma is a form of bone cancer that occurs when a tumor develops inside of a bone.

While chondrosarcomas are relatively rare compared to other cancers, they are the second most common form of bone cancer.

Chondrosarcomas develop from tumors that grow out of the cells that make up our bones. The typical areas where chondrosarcomas develop are in the bones located in the thigh, leg, arm, or pelvis.

Verywell / Laura Porter

Sometimes, chondrosarcomas can even form in areas like the chest, neck, hands, or feet. The exact causes of chondrosarcoma are not well known. As a result, chondrosarcoma is often difficult to diagnose as the signs and symptoms frequently overlap with many other common diseases.

In this article, learn about the signs, symptoms, and complications of chondrosarcoma.

woman holding painful knee

Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Common Symptoms

Since chondrosarcomas grow from tumors inside of bones, they can cause bone pain, a severe form of pain.

Bone pain is an uncomfortable feeling of deep pain or pressure within the bones. Along with bone pain, the most common symptoms of chondrosarcoma are redness and swelling that occur near the thigh, arm, pelvis, or knee.

Most frequently reported symptoms of chondrosarcoma are:

  • Pain
  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased Range of Motion
  • Decreased Mobility

Rare Symptoms

The location of chondrosarcoma is usually in the thigh, pelvis, or arms. However, some chondrosarcomas can form in the chest wall or near the throat.

These chondrosarcomas are rare and can cause rare symptoms that are different from the ones mentioned above such as:

  • Voice changes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pressure
  • Neck pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Seek Emergency Medical Attention

If you are experiencing difficulty breathing or swallowing, or are having chest pain, seek emergency medical care immediately.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned here, contact your healthcare provider. While these symptoms are not only caused by chondrosarcoma, they are severe symptoms and should prompt urgent medical evaluation.

Complications

Chondrosarcomas are invasive tumors that carry a risk of spreading.

When chondrosarcoma spreads (cancer metastasis), it can compromise the function of the organs it spreads to.

For example, chondrosarcoma that spreads to the lungs may impact your ability to breathe. Chondrosarcoma that spreads to the brain can cause altered levels of consciousness and impaired memory.

As a result, limiting the spread of chondrosarcoma is a key goal of treatment.

Most Common Treatment for Chondrosarcoma

The best available treatments for chondrosarcoma are surgical and radiation therapies. Since chondrosarcomas are relatively rare and slow growing, they are difficult to treat with medications.


Chondrosarcomas can also damage the bones and disrupt the integrity of the bone structure where the tumor is located

When the bones are damaged, they can break or fracture, which can lead to problems with mobility.

Chondrosarcoma that affects the bones in the spine can impact the spinal cord. Since the spinal cord carries movement commands from the brain to the rest of the body, the tumor can interrupt this signal relay and cause significant problems. Even though they are rare, chondrosarcomas in the spine are especially worrisome.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you receive a diagnosis of chondrosarcoma, you should consider working with an oncologist (cancer specialist) and an orthopedic surgeon (doctor who diagnoses and performs procedures for injuries and diseases of the bones) who have experience with treating bone cancers. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Summary

Chondrosarcoma is a rare tumor that grows near the bones in the body. Chondrosarcomas can cause symptoms such as bone pain, redness, pressure, and swelling. The symptoms of chondrosarcoma are best managed by treating the chondrosarcoma itself through a combination of medications, surgery, and radiation therapy. Work with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment for chondrosarcoma.

A Word From Verywell

If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of a chondrosarcoma, then seek medical evaluation and imaging tests. If you have been diagnosed with chondrosarcoma then you should work with your healthcare team to identify the best course for treatment. Many options are available for treatment that can help you live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Was this page helpful?
10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Cancer Institute. Chondrosarcoma.

  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Chondrosarcoma.

  3. Amer KM, Munn M, Congiusta D, Abraham JA, Basu Mallick A. Survival and prognosis of chondrosarcoma subtypes: seer database analysis. J Orthop Res. 2020;38(2):311-319. doi:10.1002/jor.24463

  4. National Cancer Institute. Primary bone cancer.

  5. Buis N, Esfandiari H, Hoch A, Fürnstahl P. Overview of methods to quantify invasiveness of surgical approaches in orthopedic surgery-a scoping review. Front Surg. 2021;8:771275. doi:10.3389/fsurg.2021.771275

  6. Chin OY, Dubal PM, Sheikh AB, et al. Laryngeal chondrosarcoma: A systematic review of 592 cases: Laryngeal Chondrosarcoma. The Laryngoscope. 2017;127(2):430-439. doi:10.1002/lary.26068

  7. Wangaryattawanich P, Agarwal M, Rath T. Imaging features of cartilaginous tumors of the head and neck. J Clin Imaging Sci. 2021;11:66. doi:10.25259/JCIS_186_2021

  8. Miwa S, Yamamoto N, Hayashi K, Takeuchi A, Igarashi K, Tsuchiya H. Therapeutic targets and emerging treatments in advanced chondrosarcoma. IJMS. 2022;23(3):1096. doi:10.3390/ijms23031096

  9. Hua KC, Hu YC. Treatment method and prognostic factors of chondrosarcoma: based on Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (Seer) database. Transl Cancer Res. 2020;9(7):4250-4266.

  10. Alqubaisi A, Oliveira I, Singla N, Chavda A, Khoo M, Saifuddin A. The incidence and diagnostic relevance of pathological fracture in conventional central chondrosarcoma. Skeletal Radiol. 2021;50(6):1131-1140. doi:10.1007/s00256-020-03651-1