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Spinal Cord Tumors - 5 Things You Must Know!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Amit Kumar Ghosh 88% (149 ratings)
MBBS, DNB, Fellowship In Neurosurgery
Neurosurgeon, Kolkata  •  19 years experience
Spinal Cord Tumors - 5 Things You Must Know!

There is hardly any individual who hasn't suffered from back pain at some point or the other, and lower back pain is considered one of the prime factors for which people might want to miss a day of work. The source of the pain could range from herniated disk to muscle spasm to osteoarthritis. What’s worse, it could be benign or cancerous spine tumor. Even though spinal cord tumors are quite rare, when it occurs, it could be life-threatening. If caught early, it is possible to treat spine disorders effectively and therefore, it pays to know a few important facts about spinal cord tumors.

  1. Back pain is the most common symptom: When it comes to spine tumors, regardless of whether they are cancerous or non-cancerous, you cannot afford to ignore back pain. This is because the tumor causes pain by pressing against the spinal cord or destroying the bone. It is crucial to note that such type of back pain tend to linger even while you are resting at night.
  2. Pain that radiates to other parts of the body as well: When spine tumors are the culprit for back pain, it can radiate towards the arms or lower back rather than improving with time.
  3. Spinal cord tumors can lead to other symptoms: There is no reason to believe that when you have spinal cord tumors, then you will only suffer from a debilitating back pain. You may also suffer from reduced sensitivity to pain, difficulty in walking, loss of sensation and muscle weakness. You may also notice that you have a decreased sensation to heat and cold as well.
  4. People who have previously suffered from cancer are at a high risk: Individuals who had cancer particularly, breast, lung, kidney, prostate, and thyroid should be extra careful about their health in general. You should regularly monitor the symptoms of spine tumors since you are at a higher risk of developing it. It is found that in about 60 to 70 percent of the cases, cancer occurring in other parts of the body either metastasizes or spreads to the spinal cord.
  5. There are ways other than surgery to remove spinal tumors: A biopsy would be able to tell whether the tumor is malignant or benign. A biopsy is a process which involves removal of a small tissue sample and also examining it with the help of a microscope. But it is important to note here that all spinal tumors do not require an immediate removal through surgery. Sometimes, all you will need is a regular monitoring for detecting if there is any change. This is commonly chosen when the spinal tumors are small and benign.

Not always your back pain is a sign of spinal cord tumor. However, in the case of a persistent back pain along with other symptoms, a doctor’s opinion must be sought. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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