Why choose Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


Mayo Clinic accepts appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System sites.

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  • 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.


Your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical exam and order tests to determine the stage and severity of your condition. Tests may include those below.


Image-guided needle biopsy is necessary to confirm a chordoma diagnosis. In this procedure, the doctor performs a needle biopsy during imaging that helps guide the needle precisely into the tumor. During the biopsy, the doctor removes cells from the abnormal area for examination under a microscope by Mayo Clinic's experienced pathology staff.

Imaging studies

You may have imaging tests, such as an MRI or a computerized tomography (CT) scan, to help locate changes in your brain or spine and to determine whether the cancer has spread. In tests that involve radiation, specialists carefully monitor doses to avoid the risk of radiation overexposure.

Read more about MRI and CT scan.


A team of specialists in orthopedic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, neurosurgery, and others as needed, treat chordoma using one or more of the following options:

  • 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, and Mayo surgeons have the expertise and experience to increase the chances of successful surgery.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is used in combination with surgery to help stop tumor growth and recurrence. Radiation oncologists apply high-energy external beam radiation to tissues containing cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used as a supplement before or after surgery or for cases when the tumor cannot be safely removed.
  • Chemotherapy. Chordomas are not generally treated with chemotherapy, although chemotherapy is sometimes effective for certain cases in killing rapidly multiplying cells in certain types of tumors.
  • Targeted therapy. Targeted therapies are drugs that aim for specific cancer-causing molecules. In unique circumstances, targeted therapies may be used for advanced chordomas.

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.

Mayo Clinic: Answers you can trust

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

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Nov. 16, 2012