A spinal tumour is a growth that develops within your spinal canal or the bones of your spine. Spinal tumours can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Spinal tumours or growths of any kind can lead to pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis.
Tumours that first develop on your spine or spinal cord are called primary spinal tumours. Metastatic, or secondary spinal tumours, result from cancer spreading from another area in your body to your spine. Metastatic spinal tumours are more common than primary spinal tumours.
Spinal tumours may affect your spinal cord, nerve roots, blood vessels or bones of your spine. Signs and symptoms may include:
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for spinal tumours. Please see Dr Shiva about your back pain if:
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following:
Anyone can get a spinal tumour, but it is more likely to develop in people with cancer, especially lung, breast and prostate cancers. These are considered metastatic or secondary spinal tumours.
Primary spinal tumours are rare but are more likely to occur in adults over the age of 65. Scientists are not sure of the cause of most primary spinal tumours. There may be a genetic component. Spinal cord lymphomas (cancers that affect a type of immune cell) are more common in people with weakened immune systems.
As primary spinal tumours often have no symptoms, doctors often find them incidentally when a person has an imaging test for another reason.
Dr Shiva will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He will also perform a neurological examination to check for the following symptoms:
Dr Shiva may also order several tests to confirm the presence of a spinal tumour, including an x-ray, MRI, CT scan, biopsy, bone scan or blood tests.
The goal of spinal tumour treatment is to eliminate the tumour. The risk of permanent damage to the spinal cord and surrounding nerves can complicate this. Dr Shiva will also take into account your age and overall health.
Treatment options for most spinal tumours include:
When the tumour cannot be removed completely, surgery may be followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both.
Recovery from spinal surgery may take weeks or longer, depending on the procedure. You may experience a temporary loss of sensation or other complications, including bleeding and damage to nerve tissue.