Chrondrosarcoma is a primary bone cancer found in the cartilage cells. It is a malignant tumor. This type of cancer affects about two to three thousand people annually, and those primarily affected are adults between the 50 to 75 years old. Currently, there is no known cause although some patients may have a history of enchondroma or osteochondroma. It is most common in the arms, legs, pelvic region, and shoulder bones. However, it can occur in any bone, even at the base of the skull. About 25 percent primary bone cancers are known to be chrondrosarcomas.
The initial complaint one may have is pain, regardless of where the bone cancer is present. Usually mild at first, the pain intensifies as the cancer progresses. When not treated, the pain will become constant, varying from moderate to severe levels. Nightly sleep is disrupted frequently due to the pain, and it often creates problems with moving around freely.
Additional symptoms include a marked degree of weakness. Some patients will have difficulty in bearing any weight on the affected joint or they might not be able to bend the joint of the arm or leg. The weakness is usually associated with the pain. The bone cancer can also destroy the bone, creating a weakness so significant that the affected bone will fracture. In later stages, swelling may be present and may be tender to the touch. Other symptoms associated with bone cancer include fever that may either be continuous in nature or come on at a set time each day; patients may complain of feeling overly tired or lacking in energy or strength; anemia is a common element in bone cancers; and finally, anorexia may be induced due to loss of appetite, although this is more prevalent in the later stages of the disease.
There are four grades to this type of bone cancer. Grade one is slow-growing and non-metastasizing. Grades two and three are faster-growing. Some medical specialists even assign a grade four to the most rapidly growing form that is highly aggressive and metastasizing. With the least aggressive grade, 90 percent of patients survive more than five years after diagnosis.