Chordoma is a rare cancerous (malignant) primary bone tumor that occurs along the spine, most often in the base of the spine (sacrum) or in the base of the skull. Chordomas can occur at any age, but they usually occur in adults. Although slow growing, chordomas are difficult tumors to treat, and they are often life-threatening.
Chordomas form from small remnants of the notochord, a coil of cells in the embryo that develops into the spinal cord. In rare cases, a leftover cell (notochord remnant) can develop into a chordoma. Symptoms depend on the site of the tumor. Long-term follow-up care is necessary after treatment ends because chordomas can spread (metastasize) and recur.
Why choose Mayo Clinic for chordoma
- Expertise and experience. Because chordomas are rare, it can be difficult to find a medical center experienced in their treatment. Mayo Clinic's experienced specialists treat more people with chordomas than do most other centers in North America.
- Multispecialty team. Depending on your needs, your Mayo Clinic team may include doctors from a number of specialties, such as orthopedic surgery, oncology, radiation oncology, neurosurgery and others. The rehabilitation team helps people recover function and independence after chordoma surgery.
- Advanced technology. Mayo Clinic surgeons are leaders in the use of computer-assisted surgery to protect the critical structures of the brain and spine. Mayo's experts work with state-of-the-art imaging equipment.
- Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, recognizing scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.
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