A spinal tumor is a growth or mass that develops within your spinal canal or within the bones of your spine. Spinal tumors are rare and can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Because both malignant and benign tumors can compress the spinal cord and nerves that carry messages to and from the brain, they are a serious health risk and must be promptly diagnosed and treated.
Primary tumors are the ones that originate in the spine or spinal cord, and metastatic, or secondary, tumors result from cancer that has spread from another site to the spine.
The main types of spinal tumors are:
The symptoms patients experience depend on the position of a tumor in the spinal cord and can include:
In addition, tumors located in the lower part of the spinal cord may cause loss of bladder and bowel control.
Treatment options may involve a combination of surgery to reduce the size of the lesion, combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy.