Spinal Cord Tumors

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Spinal Cord Tumors
Spinal Cord Tumors

Video: Spinal Cord Tumors

Video: Spinal Cord Tumors
Video: Spinal Cord Tumors - Daniel M. Sciubba, MD 2023, March

Spinal cord tumors

Various tumors can occur in the spinal cord and spinal column. Both benign and malignant growths occur. Spinal cord cancer is rather rare compared to other types of cancer. In addition to malignant tumors, however, benign tumors can also lead to severe damage. The spinal cord cannot escape within the bony spinal canal, but the tumor spreads, so that damage to the spinal cord or nerves can occur. Spinal cord tumors are partly metastases from breast or lung cancer, for example…


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  • Spinal cord tumors - what is it?
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Spinal cord tumors - what is it?

The spinal cord can be affected by different groups of tumors. A distinction is made in the area of the spinal cord or spine - with regard to the location and origin of the tumor - for example:

  • Tumors in the spinal cord area,
  • Tumors in the area of the brain or spinal cord skin,
  • Tumors in the area of the vertebral body (these are often metastases of other cancers in the body, such as breast or lung cancer. Most of the time, the tumor is located in the vertebrae and over time presses on the spinal cord).

The tumors grow at different speeds, metastases usually quickly.

Depending on the location of the tumor, neurological problems and pain arise. One of the symptoms is a slowly progressing paraplegic syndrome. As a result of a tumor, for example:

  • Paralysis symptoms (and pyramid signs), increasing feeling of stiffness in the legs, increasing walking difficulties,
  • Sensory disorders, e.g. one leg or both legs
  • Micturition disorders (bladder emptying disorders),
  • Lack of individual reflexes of the abdominal skin and lack of muscle reflexes,
  • Belt feel around your chest or body as well
  • Pain, e.g. back pain, can radiate from the back to other parts of the body, e.g. arms or legs.


In order to clarify the situation, the doctor will get an idea of the symptoms, previous illnesses, etc. Symptoms that occur with tumors of the spinal cord can also have other neurological causes. A thorough physical and neurological exam will be performed. In addition, radiological examinations are carried out, e.g.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT
  • roentgen
  • Myelography

An examination of the CSF and a biopsy may also be necessary.


The treatment depends, among other things, on the general health of the person concerned and the results of the findings (e.g. type, location, extent). Surgery is often necessary, especially if there is damage to the spinal cord or nerves.

Radiation therapy may be necessary, for example in combination with surgery for metastases. Radiation may also be necessary for benign tumors. Pain therapy is also one of the measures.

In the case of malignant tumors that have already destroyed bones, surgery with stabilization of the spine can be very time-consuming. Radiation and chemotherapy are also carried out.

Regular follow-up care including examinations (e.g. MRI) is also essential in order to detect a possible recurrence of a tumor early.

Rehabilitation may also be necessary. Further information on rehabilitation can be found under Rehabilitation & Cure.

Whom can I ask?

The diagnosis and treatment usually takes place in a specialized department of a hospital (internal medicine - oncology, neurology, neurosurgery). Resident physicians (e.g. oncology, neurology, neurosurgery) and outpatient facilities can also be involved. Other health professions (e.g. physiotherapists) can also be involved.

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