Chordoma is a rare type of primary bone cancer. It can develop in the bones of the spine or the bones at the base of the skull.
This type of cancer starts in the notochord. The notochord forms the spine in a developing baby in the womb. By the time a baby is born, the bones of the spine have grown and replaced most of the notochord. Only small amounts of the notochord are left.
Chordomas tend to be slow-growing and do not often spread to other parts of the body. If they do spread, the most commonly affected places are the lungs, bone, skin and brain.
Chordomas can happen at any age, but mainly affect people aged 50 to 60.