Tumors that originate in the spine are rare and are usually found in younger adults. They are typically slow growing and are usually benign. Most often, tumors found in the spine have metastasized from cancer elsewhere in the body.
Spinal tumors are caused by cells that are growing out of control. These cells surround and support neurons. Some tumors result from genetic disease or from exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals.
Symptoms of a spinal tumor can include any one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the neck or back followed by neurological problems such as weakness or numbness in the arms or legs or a change in bowel or bladder habits
- Spine pain that is worse in the morning
- Pain that is severe when there is direct manipulation or compression in the affected area of the spine
- Pain that does not decrease with rest and pain that is worse at night more so than during the day
- Unplanned weight loss
- Fever and chills
- Loss of appetite
Diagnosis of the spinal tumor may include any one or more of the following:
- Physical examination
- Detailed medical history
- Complete neurological examination
- X-rays of the spine, chest and gastro-intestinal system
- CT scan
Treatment for spinal tumors can include any one or more of the following:
Are there any specific environmental causes that contribute to a higher risk of spinal tumors?
There is no solid evidence that certain environments cause increases in spinal tumors. The incidence of these is often related more to the primary tumor, such as in metastatic spread of cancer to the spinal bone.