A spinal tumor indicates a growth that develops in and around the spinal cord. This growth may be non-cancerous or cancerous (malignant) in nature, leading to the development of tumor. Spinal tumor is a rare condition caused by the spread of cancers (metastases) in other areas of the body. However, in a few cases, the tumor may develop in the spinal cord itself; may not be caused by metastases. The spinal tumor caused by the spreading of cancer from some other location is called secondary spinal tumor. When such a tumor develops on its own, it is called primary spinal tumor. It has been observed that the secondary spinal tumors develop faster then the primary ones. Read this article to know the various signs and symptoms of spinal tumor.
Signs & Symptoms Of Spinal Tumor
The symptoms of the spinal tumor depend largely on the location of tumor, type of tumor and general health of the patient. The symptoms of this tumor are, sometimes, visible over large portions of the body. Some of the major symptoms of spinal tumor are:
Abnormal Sensations or Loss Of Sensation
- It is felt particularly in the legs, and knee. The ankle may also be affected.
- The pain may worsen over time.
- The pain may affect any area of the back, though middle and low back are commonly affected.
- The pain is usually severe and is not relieved by pain killers or medication.
- It may worsen over time.
- While lying down, the pain may become worse.
- Straining, coughing and sneezing can worsen the pain.
- The pain may extend to the hip, leg, or feet (or arms) or may just stay in the spine.
- Weakness may particularly be felt in the legs.
- Walking may become difficult.
- Weakness may be progressive, making the condition worse.
- It may also cause the patient to fall down.
Some other symptoms of spinal tumor include:
- Feeling of cold sensation in the legs. Cooling of fingers or hands or coolness of other areas of the body.
- Fecal incontinence
- Inability to control urine
- Muscle contractions or spasms
- Muscle function loss.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and bone scanning are the tests usually undertaken to diagnose spinal tumors. The doctor may also want to conclude certain other tests. The treatment for spinal tumor is based on the type and location of tumor. The age and health conditions of the patient are also taken into account before determining the right treatment. The aim of the treatment is to eliminate the tumor and prevent nerve damage, which is inevitable if the tumor continues to progress.
In case the spinal tumor is small and benign in nature, it just requires regular monitoring by the doctor. In case of any major problem, the tumor is removed through surgery. Radiation therapy is taken recourse to, if the tumor is not removable through surgery. Newer methods have also been introduced to treat spinal tumors, such as stereotactic radiosurgery. In some instances, chemotherapy is also used to treat spinal tumors. The exact treatment, however, is decided after studying the problem in detail.