There is no such thing as a routine spine tumor. Every patient’s spine tumor is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving each person’s specific cancer.
At the OSUCCC – James, our spine tumor sub-specialists are world-renowned cancer experts who focus solely on spine tumors and who reach across medical disciplines (oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pharmacists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.
In fact, our unique Multidisciplinary Brain Cancer Clinic offers all newly diagnosed patients an on-site, thorough evaluation and treatment-options review with experts from neurologic radiation oncology, surgical oncology and medical oncology – all on the same day – so that together, the patient and the experts can decide on the best personalized treatment options.
And by receiving access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are often available for their treatment and care.
Facts About Spine Tumors
- About 10,000 Americans develop primary or metastatic spinal tumors each year.
- Although spinal tumors affect people of all ages, they are most common in young and middle-aged adults.
- Primary spine tumors are rare. More than 90 percent of spine tumors are metastatic – cancer originating in other parts of the body.
Spine tumors are abnormal growths of tissue found in and around the spine. Tumors in the spine may be primary (begin in the spine) or secondary (metastatic – i.e., move to the spine from other locations). The most common cancers that move to the spine are breast, lung, renal and prostate. Most often cancer that moves to the spine is not fatal. However, it can cause pain and compress nerves. Nerves that are compressed can cause weakness or paralysis of your arms or legs. Treatment of your spine tumor is focused on maintaining your quality of life.
Types of Spine Tumors
Primary spine tumors are found in the spine or spinal cord, and metastatic or secondary tumors result from cancer spreading from another part of the body to the spine. The three major groups of spinal cord tumors describe where they are found.
Extradural Tumors: These tumors grow between the inner surface of the spinal canal and the tough dura mater.
Intradural Tumors: These tumors grow inside the dura. There are two types of intradural tumors:
- Extramedullary Tumors: Tumors that grow outside the spinal cord
- Intramedullary Tumors: Tumors that grow inside the spinal cord
Other descriptors for spinal cord tumors are intrinsic, meaning the tumor forms inside the spinal cord, and extrinsic, meaning the tumor forms outside of and presses on the cord as it grows.
Spine Tumor Symptoms
The majority of spine tumors are located in the center of the back, but they also occur in the lower back or the neck region. The location of the tumor determines the symptoms you will experience.
Some patients have no symptoms, but the most common symptom of a spine tumor is pain. Patients may experience persistent back or neck pain. Other complaints may include numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs, problems walking and maintaining balance, or problems with bowel and bladder function.
Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a spine tumor. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. But if you have symptoms, you should tell your doctor, especially if they have continued for longer than a few weeks.