Chordoma

What's the scoop?

 

Chordoma is a type of cancer that affect the spine. Chordomas most commonly develop at the top of the spine where it means the skull, or at the base of the spine.

 

When a baby develops in the womb there are cells that grow to become the disks of the baby's spine, and then they go way around the time the baby is born. In some cases these cells never go away and can become cancerous much later on in life.

 

Tell me more.

Chordoma tumors in general are slow growing, however because of their location, they can cause many problems because they can be pushing against the spine, nerves, arteries and the brain.

 

Who's most at risk?

 

While a chordoma diagnosis can occur at any age, in most cases people are diagnosed between 40-60 years old.

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If your doctor suspects a chordoma she might choose to do a biopsy (sample) of the tumor as well as an imaging test, such as an MRI or a CT scan.

 

The biopsy will most likely be done with a needle to confirm the diagnosis. It is important that you have a specialist doing the biopsy because of the location of the tumor, and if a chordoma is confirmed from the biopsy, the removal of the tumor. The medical team will then be able to use the imaging test to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

 

Once the biopsy and imaging has been done, the medical team will create a treatment plan based on the location of the tumor, the size of the tumor, and where the tumor has spread.

 

An early diagnosis of a chordoma can be extremely beneficial to maintain a normal lifestyle. This is because when chordoma's grow large they can damage nerves and tissue connected to the spine and brain that can cause permanent damage.

 

Whether the tumor is located at the top of the spine near the skull or in the lower spine (sacral spine) your treatment plan will probably include both surgery and radiation. You will have a team of doctors who specialize in different areas to plan your surgery, called preoperative planning, to make sure it is being done in the best way possible.

 

After your initial surgery, you may require therapy to regain normal bodily functions.

 

It is common for chordoma patients to have radiation as well to target any remaining cancer still in the body. However, depending on the location of the tumor, your doctor may also recommend radiosurgery or targeted therapy, so ask them what is best for your case .

 

What's the scoop?

 

Chordoma is a type of cancer that affect the spine. Chordomas most commonly develop at the top of the spine where it means the skull, or at the base of the spine.

 

When a baby develops in the womb there are cells that grow to become the disks of the baby's spine, and then they go way around the time the baby is born. In some cases these cells never go away and can become cancerous much later on in life.

 

Tell me more.

Chordoma

Chordoma tumors in general are slow growing, however because of their location, they can cause many problems because they can be pushing against the spine, nerves, arteries and the brain.

 

Who's most at risk?

 

While a chordoma diagnosis can occur at any age, in most cases people are diagnosed between 40-60 years old.

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If your doctor suspects a chordoma she might choose to do a biopsy (sample) of the tumor as well as an imaging test, such as an MRI or a CT scan.

 

The biopsy will most likely be done with a needle to confirm the diagnosis. It is important that you have a specialist doing the biopsy because of the location of the tumor, and if a chordoma is confirmed from the biopsy, the removal of the tumor. The medical team will then be able to use the imaging test to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

 

Once the biopsy and imaging has been done, the medical team will create a treatment plan based on the location of the tumor, the size of the tumor, and where the tumor has spread.

 

An early diagnosis of a chordoma can be extremely beneficial to maintain a normal lifestyle. This is because when chordoma's grow large they can damage nerves and tissue connected to the spine and brain that can cause permanent damage.

 

Whether the tumor is located at the top of the spine near the skull or in the lower spine (sacral spine) your treatment plan will probably include both surgery and radiation. You will have a team of doctors who specialize in different areas to plan your surgery, called preoperative planning, to make sure it is being done in the best way possible.

 

After your initial surgery, you may require therapy to regain normal bodily functions.

 

It is common for chordoma patients to have radiation as well to target any remaining cancer still in the body. However, depending on the location of the tumor, your doctor may also recommend radiosurgery or targeted therapy, so ask them what is best for your case .

 

Symptom list:

Chordoma