What is Spinal Cord Tumours?

Spinal cord tumours are growths of tissue found in or near the spinal cord. The spinal cord is part of a human body’s Central Nervous System and usually the cells within the CNS grow in a controlled way, however occasionally a tumour can form due to unknown reasons that are still being researched.

More commonly the tumour is simply a part of a cancer elsewhere in the body, however occasionally a tumour can form on its own either inside or on the outer lining of the spinal cord itself.

Because the cancer is located in the CNS the first most common symptoms of this type of cancer is back pain, numbness and a tingling sensation as the central nervous system is being disrupted by the pressure of the cancer. It can also affect a person’s coordination resulting in clumsiness and walking difficulties. Once these symptoms occur it is important to ascertain the problem as a tumour on the spinal cord maybe difficult to remove and the size and position of the tumour must be assessed.

A full CT scan can be carried out using x-rays to scan the entire body and enable the specialists a chance to give a proper diagnosis, it will also find any other cancers that may relate to the tumour.  An MRI scan may be carried out to enable a more in depth look at certain areas of the body. Treatment of a spinal cord tumour is more difficult than a normal cancer as it is connected to the spinal cord and surgery may make things worse.

The tumour may not be completely removable due to its position; if it is inside the spinal cord itself then it is possible that the only treatment would be to remove a part of it. Other treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and even steroids to reduce the swelling.

Filed Under: Spinal Cord Tumours

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