A chordoma is a rare and malignant type of tumor that can appear anywhere along the spine, from the bones of the skull base to the tailbone. Almost a third of this kind of tumor appears on the lower back, known as the sacral area. This type of cancer is usually slow growing, however tends to recur after treatment.
Nerve problems and discomfort are common symptoms of chordomas, as they can press on the spine and nerves as they get larger. Numbness, weakness, lack of bladder or bowel control, and a lump are also symptoms to be be aware of.
Like most cancers, chordomas randomly occur due to random cell mutations. Chordomas usually form from the remnants of the notochord and embryonic tissues. Although most cases of chordomas are random, they can be genetic.
Your physician will attempt to remove the tumor and possibly the surround tissue during surgery; this is generally the primary option for removing chordomas. Radiation to reduce the tumor's size and limit the chances of it metastasizing is also an option. Following a successful surgery, you will generally need an MRI every three months to ensure the tumor does not recur.