Chondroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor made up of cartilage, most often found in the small bones in the hands and feet. Occassionally the tumor may also present in the upper arm bone, thigh bone and ribs and rarely in the pelvis and shoulder. These tumors typically do not produce symptoms and usually stop growing when the child's bones reach full growth.
There are two categories of chondromas. Echondromas are found in the middle of the bone and periosteal chondromas grow at the bone’s surface. There are often no symptoms for echondroma, but they can include higher risk of fractures and pain and swelling. They affect boys and girls equally and are often not found until the 30's or 40's. Periosteal chondromas are extremely rare and more likely to produce symptoms and thus are often diagnosed earlier. Symptoms include aches, swelling, and a mass that you can detect, but symptoms. Unfortunately, the cause of these chondromas is unknown.
Chondromas, when found early, should be monitored for growth. If it continues to grow after the bones have reached maturity, the tumors can become cancerous. Chondromas of the shoulder and pelvis are more likely to become cancerous whereas those in the hands and feet rarely do. Chondromas can be diagnosed by x-rays, MRIs, CTs, and bone scans. If the tumor is interfering with normal bone structure, it can be surgically removed or scraped. It is critical to consult a doctor if you suspect you have chondromas. Long-term outlook is dependent upon the extent of the bone disease, the size and location of the tumor, age of onset and whether or not it has become cancerous. There are also support groups to reach out to for additional support.