Symptoms of chordoma depend on the location of the tumor, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Tumors in the skull cause poor vision and headache. Tumors in the spine result in pain and other symptoms, such as numbness, leg pain or weakness while those in the tailbone cause numbness and problems with the bladder or bowels.
Chordoma is a rare cancer that normally affects the spine and the skull, notes Chordoma Foundation. It belongs to a family of cancers known sarcoma, which include cancers of the muscles, bones and cartilage. This cancer occurs instinctively, and its cause is not yet clear. Neither lifestyle, environmental nor dietary factors are linked to this disease. Chordomas are thought to develop from remnants of the embryonic notochord. Notochord cells undergo malignant change to form chordoma. They are recurrent and tend to reappear after treatment.
There are three types of chordoma including conventional, chondroid and dedifferentiated, according to Chordoma Foundation. Dedifferentiated chordoma is more aggressive than the two and grows faster, while conventional chordoma is aggressive than chondroid chordoma. Treatment of chordomas is difficult because they are close to the spinal chord and brain. A surgical operation is the recommended option in most cases. However, it tends to be hard to perform because of the complex structures near the tumor.