Treatments for Chondrosarcoma of the Head and Neck in Children

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What's the treatment for chondrosarcoma?

  • Treatment for a low-grade chondrosarcoma involves an operation to remove the tumor. This kind of surgery alone is usually sufficient to cure these less-invasive tumors.
  • A rapidly growing, high-grade chondrosarcoma may include surgery combined with other forms of therapy, which are discussed below.

Surgery

Surgery for chondrosarcoma involves the biopsy, surgical removal of the tumor and bone/skin grafts. The type of surgery will depend on the size and location of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread.

"We perform these procedures in the hospital's new state-of-the-art pediatric MR-OR. It will allow us to take an MRI scan immediately following surgery to ensure the tumor was completely removed and decrease the need for additional surgery."

--Reza Rahbar, DMD, MD about nasal glioma surgery and new MRI facility

Chemotherapy

This therapy is rarely used in chondrosarcoma except for extremely aggressive forms of the disease.

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that works by interfering with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce.

  • Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Often, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used.
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs may be given in a specific order depending on the type of cancer it is being used to treat.
  • While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the agents don't differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells.

Because of this, there can be many adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, parents, and child prepare, and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring, if possible.

Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning it is introduced to the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given:

  • as a pill to swallow
  • as an injection into the muscle or fat tissue
  • intravenously (directly to the bloodstream)
  • intrathecally (directly into the spinal column with a needle)

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation includes physical and occupational therapy along with psychosocial counseling.

Supportive care

Supportive care s any type of treatment to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments, and complications, and to keep your child comfortable during treatment

Continual follow-up care

A schedule of follow-up care will be determined by your child's physician and other members of your care team to monitor ongoing response to treatment and possible late effects of treatment.

What is the long-term outlook for patients with chondrosarcoma?

Prognosis for children with chondrosarcoma greatly depends on:

  • the extent of the disease
  • the size and location of the tumor
  • presence or absence of metastasis
  • the tumor's response to therapy
  • the age and overall health of your child
  • your child's tolerance of specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • new developments in treatment

Every child is unique and treatment and prognosis is structured around your child's needs. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis.

What is the recommended long-term care for children treated for chondrosarcomas?

Children treated for chondrosarcomas should visit a survivorship clinic every year to:

  • manage disease complications
  • screen for early recurrence of cancer
  • manage late effects of treatment

A typical follow-up visit may include some or all of the following:

  • a physical exam
  • laboratory testing
  • imaging scans

Through the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team.

  • Our childhood cancer survivorship clinic is held weekly.
  • In addition to meeting with your pediatric oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists, neuro-psychologists or alternative/complementary therapy specialists.

We also offer the following services:

  • patient and family education
  • psychosocial assessment
  • genetic counseling
  • reproductive and fertility evaluation and counseling
  • opportunities to speak with other childhood cancer survivors
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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