Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors are any type of neoplasm or growth on the spinal cord. Spinal tumors may be cancerous or benign. Cancerous spinal tumors may be a metastasis from cancer elsewhere in the body or it may be a primary tumour (that is, the first cancerous tumour in the body). Benign spinal tumours are also dangerous, in that they can place pressure on the spinal cord and nearby structures, causing pain, lead to paraplegia or tetraplegia and other symptoms. Any type of spinal tumour is a serious medical condition requiring immediate and expert medical intervention.

Causes

Tumours occur when uncontrolled cell growth occurs. Cancer or radiation exposure may cause spinal tumors, but the cause of some spinal tumours is unknown.

Terminology

Tumours of the spinal cord may be extradural (outside the dura mater lining of the vertebral column), intradural (part of the dura mater), or intramedullary (inside the spinal cord itself). If the tumour is caused by cancer in another part of the body, it is a metastatic tumour or a secondary tumour.

Symptoms

Tumours can compress the spinal cord and nearby structures. Since this area of the body has a dense network of nerves, pain is a frequent symptom of spinal tumour. Other symptoms include:

  • Incontinence
  • Decreased sensitivity around the buttocks

Treatment

Spinal tumours are serious medical conditions that require the expert care offered by Neuro Spinal Hospital. Steroids can be administered to reduce inflammation caused by spinal cord compression. This may decrease pressure and reduce pain, but it does not affect the tumour itself. In some instances, the tumour may be treated with radiation therapy. Surgery is sometimes possible, during which all or a portion of the tumour can be removed.

In some cases, the tumour can destabilize the vertebral column. Further surgery may be appropriate in such patients to help stabilize and strengthen the spine.

Prognosis

Spinal tumours require the expert care offered at the Neuro Spinal Hospital. Since every patient is unique and tumours can vary greatly depending on their size, location, effect, and origin, physicians at the Neuro Spinal Hospital will discuss treatment options and prognoses on an individual basis.

Risk Factors

There is no known way to prevent spinal tumours. Cancer in another part of the body is a potential risk factor for the development of a secondary spinal tumour.

Conclusion

Spinal tumours differ from tumours in other parts of the body, in that spinal tumours put pressure on the spinal cord and related structures and can be a serious medical condition. Although spinal tumours can be cancerous or benign, all such tumours require immediate and expert treatment. Spinal tumours can cause severe and even debilitating symptoms when left untreated. Treatment options include pain control, steroid injections to manage inflammatory response, and radiation treatments or surgery.