Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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Treatment for chordoma may include:

  • Surgery. The primary treatment for chordoma is surgery, although it may be difficult to perform because the tumor is near critical structures in the brain and spinal cord. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire tumor in one piece, whenever possible.

    Surgery for chordoma is often complex. At Mayo Clinic, experienced and highly skilled surgeons perform operations to remove chordomas.

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table as a machine moves around you, directing the radiation beams to precise points on your body. Radiation therapy may be used before or after surgery or in cases when surgery isn't an option.
  • Radiosurgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses multiple beams of radiation to kill the cancer cells in a very small area. Each beam of radiation isn't particularly powerful, but the point where all the beams meet — at the chordoma — receives a very large dose of radiation to kill the cancer cells.
  • Other treatments. In certain situations, chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy may be used to treat chordoma.
May 01, 2014