Chordoma is a rare bone cancer of the skull or spine, which is usually slow-growing. Tumors occur spontaneously and are thought to develop in the cells of remnants of the notochord, which is a cartilage-like structure that helps form the early spine of the fetus. Most tumors occur in the sacrum (base of the spine) or in the coccyx (tailbone), but they can occur at any place along the spine.
Patients tend to have been experiencing symptoms for a long time before seeking medical attention due to the slow progression of the cancer. Symptoms vary depending on where the tumor is located, but may include headaches, problems with vision, pain in the affected area, weakness, numbness, and/or tingling sensation.
Surgery is the most common choice for management; however, there is a high rate of recurrence when the tumor has not been resected. Recurring chordomas are found to be more aggressive, making treatment more difficult. The best results are reported when using a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.