When it comes to tumors, it is well-known the fact that they have the ability to appear anywhere, even in the spinal canal. Some can be formed within the bones of the spine and they are called vertebral tumors, some are malign, others are benign.
Types of spinal tumors
There are several types of spinal tumors:
- Intramedullary tumors – They are formed in the cells located inside the spinal cord.
- Extramedullary tumors – They are developed outside the spinal cord, usually in the cells that are supporting the spine. They can stop the normal functioning of the spinal cord by applying pressure or causing any other types of problems.
Symptoms associated with spinal tumors
The symptoms for every type of tumor is different and it is in direct connection with the location of the tumor or its size. The earliest symptom of them all is the back pain which is irradiated towards different parts of the body. Loss of sensation in the extremities is also another symptom, just like the difficulty in walking or the loss of the bladder or bowel function. Weakness in the muscles is also another symptom that varies in intensity according to the development of the tumor.
When to see a doctor
The doctor should be seen if the symptom you are experiencing is not related to any physical activity and if it gets worse in the evening, before going to bed. The problem can become a threat to one’s life, depending on the location of the tumor and on the compression on the spinal cord. The permanent nerve damage is also another crucial phenomenon.
One of the most common risk factors is the constant exposure to radiation. Other times, a family history case of spinal cord tumor can also be considered a risk factor. A weak immune system can also be a risk factor.
Eliminating the whole tumor can be quite complicated, as it is surrounded by a series of nerves which can be easily damaged for a long time. When choosing the best treatment for you, the doctor will take into account several risk factors such as your age, your health on the overall, the location of the tumor and the degree of severity of the whole affection. Here are the most common treatments for this condition:
- Monitoring – This is the vital step for benign tumors. They need to be observed to notice any change that might occur.
- Surgeries – This is the best treatment for the tumors that can be removed. Even if it is located in an inaccessible area, the tumor can now be removed due to the advance in technology.
- Radiation therapy – This is a step performed after the surgery has taken place to remove all the remains of the tumor. The patients who cannot go to surgery are often advised to take this treatment.
- Chemotherapy – It consists in administrating medication aimed to destroy the cancerous cells, to stop their development and their spreading. It can sometimes be combined with radiation therapy.