The Stephan L. Harris Patient
and Family Fund
Living with a diagnosis of chordoma affects all aspects of the patient's and family’s life — physical, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual.
The Stephan L. Harris Patient and Family Fund allows chordoma patients to undergo treatment with peace of mind, knowing that their financial burden of chordoma treatment is lessened.
Many patients travel from afar to receive this comprehensive and technically sophisticated treatment. Most of the Harris Center's funds go to reimbursement of the chordoma patient's travel expenses.
Welcome to the Stephan L. Harris Center for Chordoma Care at Massachusetts General Hospital. Our multidisciplinary group of physicians and clinicians specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of chordoma.
The team of clinicians at Mass General represents one of the largest chordoma treatment groups in the world.
Benefits of the Team Approach to Chordoma Treatment
When a patient is referred to the Harris Center at Mass General, he or she is asked to bring all pertinent records and radiology studies that have been completed with them to their visit.
Patients are seen in our multidisciplinary clinic, where all aspects of care are available in one location. This unique one-stop clinical care unit helps patients get the comprehensive care they need without having to leave the clinic.
Treatment providers coordinated through our team approach include
orthopedic oncology surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, neurosurgeons, reconstructive surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and nurse practitioners who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chordoma.
Patients have access to the most technically sophisticated treatments available for chordoma. Click here to read about a child's journey to the Stephan L. Harris Center for Chordoma Care.
The Treatment Plan
- Care of our Chordoma patients begins with comprehensive imaging studies including MRI, CT and nuclear imaging as clinically indicated. Previous pathology slides are reviewed by our pathologist. Additional biopsies are done if necessary.
- The patient then receives preoperative radiation therapy for two to five weeks. There is a break in treatment for four weeks before surgery takes place. When two weeks of radiation is given, surgery can be done immediately on completion.
- Surgery to completely resect the tumor usually requires two incisions approaching the tumor from the front (anterior) and back (posterior). Due to bowel and bladder issues patients may require an ostomy. Intraoperative radiation therapy may also be given. A patient’s average hospital stay is ten to fourteen days. A postoperative check is done in two weeks.
- Patients return home for four weeks to allow time for healing.
- They return for postoperative radiation therapy (proton therapy) for about 5 weeks. This protocol requires a minimum of three months. Most of our patients take six to twelve months to regain strength, endurance and a sense of normality in their lives.
- Chordoma follow-up requires imaging studies and physical exams. Chordoma is slow-growing and often recurs. Thus, visits are required every three months for two years, followed by visits every six months for three years, and then annually for five years., This timeline comprises the comprehensive ten-year follow-up plan.
To contact us for an appointment or new patient referall, the new patient coordinator, at 617-724-8193.
Click here to download the Harris Chordoma Center Brochure