Spinal cancer prognosis

Spinal cancer is not one of the more well known types of this potentially fatal disease, and that poses a problem. Many people who complain of back pain don't consider cancer as being the cause. This oversight leads to the difficulty of preventing or treating the cancer. Tumours can form in and around the spinal cord.

The low probability of developing a spinal tumour points to other forms of cancer causing the problems.

The Facts

Spinal cancer is a form of cancer than originates or affects the spinal cord. This type of cancer is very rare. You have a better chance of getting a brain tumour than a spinal tumour. Most spinal tumours that are found have spread from cancer in other parts of the body. Tumours that primarily formed in the spine are more susceptible in younger adults. Spinal tumours are known to be benign or malignant. MRI's and bone scanners are used to detect tumours in and around the spine.


There are three different types of spinal tumours: Vertebral column, Intradural-Extramedullary and Intramedullary. Vertebral column tumours grow from the bones or disc elements of the vertebral column. Younger adults are more susceptible to this type of tumour. Intradural-Extramedullary tumours grow within the spinal canal but outside of the nerves. This type of tumour is slow growing and benign and has been known to cause pain and weakness. Intramedullary tumours often grow in the cervical (neck) part of the spinal cord and grow inside the nerves in glial cells; these cells provide insulation and physical support for the nervous system. The location of these tumours makes it difficult to be removed.


Some of the symptoms that may signal spinal tumours is sciatica, numbness, partial paralysis, spinal deformity, difficulty with bladder control and high fever. Symptoms are non-mechanical meaning the pain is constant and doesn't vary due to activities that are mechanical such as bending, sitting or walking. These symptoms worsen over time. Genetic disorders may be associated with spinal tumours, but there are no known causes of this disease.


There are different types of remedies for relieving the symptoms and/or getting rid of the cancerous material. Because vertebral column tumours originate from other forms of cancer in the body, the treatment for these tumours are to relieve pain and pressure on the spinal cord. Steroids are a preferred choice to combat that problem. Intradural-Extramedullary and Intramedullary tumours are surgically removed. Chemotherapy is an option if the operation to remove the tumour is too risky.


Back pain is probably a normal discomfort to many who have suffered back injuries, but spinal cancer can also be a factor. It is recommended that you seek medical attention if you feel any pain. Not doing so can put you at risk for non-detection and/or treating this malicious disease. This type of disease can lead to paralysis and permanent disability. Spinal cancer, as with all types of cancer, can be fatal if it spreads.