Chordoma: What It Is, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Chordoma Symptoms

What Is Chordoma?

Chordoma is a rare disease in which cancerous cells form in the bones of the spine and base of the skull. The tumors usually start in the sacral region of the spine, and may eventually grow to involve other bones. This type of cancer is typically slow-growing, but can cause severe medical complications.


Most people with chordoma experience back pain and stiffness in the affected area. Other common symptoms include loss of sensation or movement, nausea, constipation, and headaches. If the tumor is large, neurological complications such as weakness, paralysis, or seizures can also be seen.

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Diagnosis and Treatment

Chordoma is usually diagnosed with imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of these methods may be necessary.

Health Complications

When chordoma is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious health complications. The tumor can grow and start to affect organs, resulting in blockage of vital structures and even respiratory difficulties.

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Managing Chordoma

For those living with chordoma, it is important to stay informed, keep up with regular follow up appointments, and take measures to reduce any pain or discomfort. If a patient is unable to receive full treatment due to the rarity of the condition, they should speak to their doctor about possible alternative therapies or treatments.

Seeking Support

Living with chordoma can be very challenging, so it’s important to know that support is available. Organizations such as the Chordoma Foundation are dedicated to providing patients with the necessary resources and guidance to help manage their condition.

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Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the bones of the spine and base of the skull. Symptoms may include back pain, stiffness, and neurological problems. Diagnosis and treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, although alternative therapies may be available. With the right care, those living with chordoma can manage their condition and find support.

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