Statistics from Johns Hopkins Medicine show that between 30 percent and 70 percent of cancer patients will develop spinal metastases at some point during the course of their disease. Cancer that metastasizes to the spine can result in pain for sufferers. It is important to know that there are options available to alleviate symptoms and restore functionality.
Common Locations for Spinal Tumors
There are several locations on the spinal cord where tumors can form. Unfortunately, they have the ability to form in nearly any type of tissue. Some common locations where these tumors and cancer develop in the spine include:
- The cartilage around the joints of the vertebrae
- Bones of the spinal vertebrae
- The spinal discs located between the vertebrae
- The peripheral nerves that exit the spine
- The blood vessels that provide nutrients to the spine
- The spinal cord
The location of the specific tumor determines its classification. The classifications include:
- Extradural Tumors: These tumors form within the spinal column and can involve vertebrae.
- Intradural Tumors: These tumors develop within the dura and do not always involve the spinal cord itself.
- Intramedullary Tumors: These tumors are located inside the spinal cord.
In some cases, patients may develop tumors in multiple locations at the same time.
Available Treatment Options
Several treatment options exist to help individuals who have spinal metastases. In many cases, patients will initially receive steroids to reduce some of the inflammation brought on by the tumors. This can help to relieve some pressure and irritation on the spinal cord. Steroids can help to provide patients with some transient neurologic improvement.
Other treatment options available include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and radiosurgery. In some cases, surgery may be needed.
Your surgeon and doctor will routinely monitor your treatment to determine how the tukmrs are responding and whether another treatment is needed. If there is no relief or symptoms worsen, another treatment option may be needed. Without adequate treatment, spinal metastases are likely to cause significant instability in the spinal column, which can lead to neurologic dysfunction and paralysis.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you have experienced spinal metastases, our team at Princeton Neurological Surgery has several treatment options available that can help you find relief. Schedule an appointment with our team to discuss your options by calling 609-890-3400. We have offices in Hamilton, Morristown, Bridgewater, Edison, and Paramus, NJ.