What is it?

Chordoma is a rare type of bone cancer that happens most often in the bones of the spine or the skull. It most often forms where the skull sits atop the spine (skull base) or at the bottom of the spine (sacrum). Chordoma begins in cells that once made up a collection of cells in the developing embryo that become the disks of the spine. Most of these cells go away after birth. But sometimes, a few of these cells remain, and rarely, they can become cancerous. Chordoma happens most often in adults between 40 and 60, though it can happen at any age. Chordoma usually grows slowly. It can be challenging to treat because it's often located very close to the spinal cord and other vital structures, such as arteries, nerves, or the brain.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Chordoma

Signs & symptoms

Chordomas can press on the spine, brain, and nerves as they grow, causing pain and nerve problems specific to the part of the brain or spinal cord where they are located. These symptoms can include tingling, numbness, weakness, lack of bladder or bowel control, sexual dysfunction, vision problems, endocrine problems, and swallowing difficulties.


Diagnosis of chordoma may include different tests and procedures:
- Removing a sample of cells for laboratory testing - biopsy.
- Obtaining more detailed imaging such as MRI or CT scan.


Chordoma treatment depends on the size and location of the cancer and whether it has invaded nerves or other tissue. Options may include surgery, radiation therapy, radiosurgery, and targeted therapies.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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