Chordoma Spinal Cancer Symptoms

Chordoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in the spine. It can also develop at the base of the skull and rarely outside of the spine. A primary bone cancer means that chordoma arises in bone (secondary bone cancer refers to those tumours that spread to bone from other parts of the body such as breast and prostate). Chordoma makes up roughly 20% of new cases of spinal cancer each year. Most people develop chordoma in their fifties although people of any age can be affected.

Chordoma spinal tumour symptoms

Chordoma is a type of spinal tumour. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the chordoma within the spine. Chordoma develops in the bones of the spine or the vertebrae (vertebral tumour), so often causes non-specific symptoms such as back pain. As chordoma grows it can affect the nerves and cause sensory symptoms (tingling, or loss of sensation) or weakness or can cause a lump if it develops at the base of the spine (sacrum or tailbone).

Chordoma skull base tumour symptoms

Around one third of chordomas arise at the base of the skull, often affecting a bone called the clivus (clival chordoma). Chordoma at the base of the skull can cause headaches, or if it presses on the nerve controlling the eye muscles it may cause double vision, or other nerves of the head it may cause difficulties in swallowing.

Chordoma lower back tumour symptoms

Around half of chordomas develop at the base of the spine or the sacrum. Sacral chordoma generally causes persistent back ache or pain in the coccyx or sacrum (tailbone). They may cause numbness or weakness of the arms and legs and can affect bowel or bladder function. Chordoma arising at the base of the spine can grow quite large before diagnosis and can cause a lump at the base or the spine or bottom of the back.

This information is provided for general guidance only and is not intended to be a substitute for specialist and professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is crucial to seek the advice of your GP, oncologist or other medical specialist with any questions you may have regarding your concerns and/or medical care. Contact us to find out more.

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There is little funding available for research into this relentless bone cancer mainly because it is relatively rare, occurring in only 1 in 800,000 of the population. Without a focused approach to raising money for research into chordoma, little will change quickly.

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