How will chondrosarcoma affect me in the Longer Term?
This information has been written for patients, their families and friends, and the general public to help them understand more about chondrosarcoma: what it is and the different types. This information is produced in accordance with BCRT's information policy.
The word ‘prognosis’ (PROG-noh-siss) refers to what doctors think the chances are of the patient’s cancer being cured with treatment or the likelihood of it returning. This depends on many different things, which vary between different patients.
In general, the prognosis for chondrosarcoma depends on:
- The stage of disease at the time of presentation, whether it is localised or metastatic (spread), or recurrent (come back).
- The grade of the chondrosarcoma (how abnormal the cells look).
- The type of chondrosarcoma - dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma and mesenchymal chondrosarcoma are more aggressive than conventional chondrosarcoma.
- Location of tumour, axial skeleton (skull, spine, pelvis) tumours may be more difficult to treat than tumours in the limbs.
- Adequacy of surgery.
- Whether lung (pulmonary) metastases can be removed with surgery (resectable).
(Ryzewicz et al., 2007, Kleihues et al., 2006, Kim et al., 2011, Björnsson et al., 1998, Rozeman et al., 2002)
Doctors cannot be absolutely certain about a patient’s prognosis because each patient and each cancer can behave differently.
After finishing treatment, chondrosarcoma patients will require follow-up care.
Outpatient hospital visits will be needed on a regular basis for the first few years after treatment and then probably yearly after that.
These visits will help the clinical team to keep an eye on a patient’s general health as well as an opportunity to carry out some tests. These tests are very important because they can show up any ‘late effects’ from the cancer treatment. Most centres encourage patients to get in touch if they have problems between appointments.
Reaching the end of treatment can bring about mixed emotions – the thought of having no more treatment can be a cause for celebration, but this can be mixed with anxiety for the future. The Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) booklet End of treatment...What happens next? is aimed at 10-16 year olds who have reached the end of their cancer treatment. The booklet deals with many of the emotional issues surrounding the process of returning to a “normal” life after cancer.
A second version of this booklet End of treatment - for parents is available, and this is written for the parents of a child who has had cancer. This deals with many of the practical issues as well as emotions that might arise when a child reaches the end of their cancer treatment.
For adults who have had treatment for cancer, the issues can be more complex and include workplace and financial issues. Macmillan Cancer Care provides a wealth of useful information on living with and after cancer, which includes information and tips on a broad range of topics.
In some patients, the cancer returns after treatment.
If the cancer returns it will require further treatment. This treatment may involve more surgery or possibly radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Your doctor will be able to advise you about which treatments are necessary.
The experience of having cancer can be frightening and stressful, and so the emotional effects of cancer can be as severe as the physical effects.
CCLG produce a booklet for teenagers and young adults called After Cure which is full of helpful information for living well after having cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Care has some very useful pages for adults on coping with the emotional aspects of cancer.
The surgical treatment of chondrosarcoma can involve major surgery and this can affect patients’ mobility in the longer term. Some patients who have surgery in the pelvis may need to use a stick or crutches for walking. Patients will work together with physiotherapists and occupational therapists to improve their mobility and independence after such surgery.
Late effects are problems from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy that may show up weeks or months after treatment has finished. Chemotherapy drugs target cancer cells but they can also damage organs and kill healthy cells. Monitoring of patients during treatment and follow up should identify problems at an early stage and therefore recognising them should limit the possibility of serious effects occurring.
Types of late effect and drug or treatment (used in sarcoma therapy) causing it
|Problems/ Late Effects||Drug/ Treatment|
|Renal/ Kidney problems (nephrotoxicity)||Cisplatin|
|Heart problems (cardiotoxicity)||Doxorubicin|
|Hearing Loss (ototoxicity)||Cisplatin|
|Osteopenia (mineral loss from bone)||Radiotherapy|
|Fertility problems (more likely in males than females)||Cisplatin, radiotherapy|
|Numbness, tingling or weakness (Neurotoxicity), more likely in older adults||Cisplatin|
|Liver problems (hepatotoxicity), very rare||Cisplatin|
|Second malignancy (cancer)||Cisplatin, doxorubicin, radiotherapy when used.|
The authors and reviewers of this information are committed to producing reliable, accurate and up to date content reflecting the best available research evidence, and best clinical practice. We aim to provide unbiased information free from any commercial conflicts of interest. This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. BCRT can answer questions about primary bone cancers, including treatments and research but we are unable to offer specific advice about individual patients. If you are worried about any symptoms please consult your doctor.
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Version 2 produced January 2013
Information will be reviewed in January 2015