Chondrosarcoma in adults | Sarcoma UK
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In adults

Chondrosarcoma is a bone sarcoma that develops in the cartilage cells.

It mostly affects adults above the age of 40 and the most common sites are the upper arm, pelvis and thigh bone.

Chondrosarcomas make up 37% of all bone sarcoma diagnoses.

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of chondrosarcoma is bone pain.

Other symptoms may include:

  • A mass or swelling
  • Restricted movement in a joint

Symptoms can sometimes be confused with more common problems such as a sports injury or in children and young people, growing pains.


Your doctor will examine you. You may have one or more of these tests:

  • MRI scan – uses magnets to create an image of the tissues of the body
  • X-ray – uses x-radiation to take images of dense tissues inside the body such as bones or tumours
  • Bone scan – shows up changes or abnormalities in the bones. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into your veins before having a scan

To read more about scans and tests, click here.


The most effective treatment for chondrosarcoma is surgery.

Limb-sparing surgery involves taking out the affected bone and replacing it with a bone graft (bone taken from another part of the body).

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to use limb-sparing surgery. Sometimes the cancer may spread from the bone to the nerves and blood vessels around it. If this happens, the only way to treat the cancer may be to remove part of the limb known as a partial amputation.

Some people may need to have all of their limb removed. This is called a full amputation.

You may also have chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

After treatment

After treatment for sarcoma you may benefit from rehabilitation services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dieticians, orthotics and prosthetics.

After surgery for bone sarcoma, you may need aids to help you, such as supports or splints. If you have had an amputation, a prosthetist can assess and fit an artificial limb.

Rehabilitation usually starts after treatment. However, with bone sarcoma you may find that it helps to start rehabilitation earlier.

You may find that you are not automatically offered a referral to rehabilitation services by your medical team, so it is important to ask at the earliest opportunity for a referral.

Living with

A recurrence of cancer may appear in other parts of the body. This is called a metastasis or secondary cancer.

In people with bone sarcoma, these secondary cancers may appear in the lungs. A chest x-ray is taken at follow-up appointments to look for secondary cancers in the lung.

If you have any questions or if you need to talk to someone, our Support Line team are here for you.



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