A chordoma tumor is a rare cancer that can occur anywhere within the spine or in the base of the skull. Chordoma tumors develop from bone and soft tissues and although they are slow-growing, they are considered malignant and may metastasize.
Chordomas can grow large and put pressure on – or invade – critical parts of the brain or spine. In turn, this may cause pain and nerve problems, and can even be life-threatening.
Since chordomas are typically slow-growing tumors, symptoms may not appear for years. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor and may include:
Surgery to remove the entire tumor is nearly always the recommendation and is often a minimally invasive endoscopic approach. At BSSNY, treatment also includes an interdisciplinary approach that involves preoperative planning, surgery, and postoperative therapy. Depending on the location, size, and appearance of the chordoma, your surgery team may involve a surgical collaboration of surgeons including neurosurgery, vascular surgery, and plastic surgery.
Radiation therapy may also be necessary to further reduce the tumor’s size and/or limit its chance of spreading.