Chordoma (also known as notochordal sarcoma) is a rare type of primary bone cancer that is commonly found at the bottom of the spine (sacrum) and base of skull. Chordoma originates from remnants of embryonic notochord. It begins in the developing embryo, and when you are born, it may go away but some of the cells may remain and eventually become cancerous.

It is most frequently diagnosed in ages between 40 and 60 years old, however the disease can occur at any age group, and it is more common to men than women.

Chordoma is a slow-growing tumor, and the treatment is difficult because of the location of the disease which is near the nerves of the spinal cord.


Signs and symptoms of chondroma depend on size and location of the tumor, and the following symptoms may indicate the disease:

  • Back pain
  • Numbness or muscle weakness especially at the arms and legs
  • Headaches
  • Visual problem
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bowel incontinence and/or urinary incontinence.

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, you should see the doctor.


The cause of the chordoma has not yet determined by the experts, but risk factors had been identified that increase the risk of having the disease.

Risk factors

These are factors to increase risk of having chordoma:

  • Age. The disease commonly affects adult at age 40 – 60 years old but may also occur at any age.
  • Gender. It is more commonly found in men than in women.
  • Family History. The risk of chordoma is increased if a direct member of the family is diagnosed with the disease.
  • Genetic condition. If children develop genetic condition such as tuberous sclerosis, then the child will have a high risk to develop chordoma.