What is a Spinal Tumor?
A spinal tumor is the abnormal tissue mass that surrounds the spinal column or spinal cord. The cells will grow multiply and uncontrollably. Their growth can be malignant or benign. It is of 2 types:
- Primary Tumors : Their growth begins from the spinal cord or spine
- Secondary Tumor : Their growth begins when cancer spreads from another body part. It is referred to as metastatic.
Spinal tumors are referred to in 2 ways which include:
- Determining the Spine Region
- Determining the spine location
- Intradural-extramedullary (Tumor is present in the spinal cord thin covering)
- Extradural (Tumor is located outside the dura)
Epilepsy surgery is the choice when medications cannot control the extent of seizures. In medical terms, it is known as medically refractory epilepsy or drug-resistant epilepsy. Through the surgical approach, its extent is limited and seizures are stopped, without the need of giving medications.
The most common spine tumor is termed vertebral hemangiomas. These are termed benign lesions and their symptoms will not result in pain. Primary cancer spread to the breast, lung, and prostate. Other cancer can also spread to the spine which includes sarcoma, melanoma, myeloma, and lymphoma. Consulting the neurosurgeon for prompt medical intervention is necessary
What is the prevalence rate?
Around 85% to 90% is accounted for brain tumors which include the central nervous system primary tumor. Their growth starts from the spinal nerve roots, spinal cord, and dura.
For the spinal tumor, the incidence rate is different which is linked to dural or neural elements as compared to the ones which are surrounded by the vertebral.
What are its causes?
Till the time as much study is done, I have not been able to determine the reason behind it. Some of them might trigger cancer-causing agents. Individuals face the issue of spinal cord lymphomas which affect the immune system. Its incidence is higher and it mostly happens due to a genetic component. The likelihood of primary tumors is known to come in existence due to genetic problem which includes:
- Neurofibromatosis 2 (Genetic Disorder)
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease (Multi-system disorder)
What are the symptoms?
Be it a benign or malignant spinal tumor, the patient will have a middle or lower back pain. The pain is not linked to stress, injury, or physical activity. The pain is likely to get worse when you lie down or do certain types of activities. Pain can even go reach the legs, hips, arms, or feet. As per the type of tumor or location, the symptoms can develop. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Pain and/or neurologic symptoms (such as tingling) increase with Valsalva maneuver
- Difficulty walking
- Paralysis which affects different parts of the body and nerves can get compressed.
- Reduced sensitivity to pain, heat, and cold
- Problem with bowel control
- Scoliosis or spinal deformity
How is it diagnosed?
Proper medical examination of back pain and neurological defects is understood. To give you the correct treatment and diagnosis, radiologist tests are needed.
- CT scan or CAT scan
- MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)
What are the best treatment options?
The choice of treatment will be determined by your condition. The expertise of medical oncologists, spinal surgeons, medical specialists, and radiation oncologists is considered. Your overall health is determined and then a proper treatment plan is evaluated for your condition.
Some of the treatment options are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or observation. Indication for surgery will depend on the tumor type. For the patients, where surgical resection is easier then preoperative embolization is done. When the doctor considers surgery, the tumor location within the spinal canal is checked.