1331 N 7th St #405 Phoenix, AZ 85006
Phone: (602) 254-3151

Arizona Neurosurgery & Spine Specialist

Spine Tumors Specialists

What types of tumors affect the spine?

Although rare, primary tumors can grow from the vertebrae or the discs of the spinal column, usually affecting younger adults. Osteosarcoma is the most common form of malignant tumor, though typically it grows at a slow rate.

The membrane that surrounds the spinal cord, called the dura, is another spot that tumors may occur. These, too, are slow-growing, but they can be painful due to pressure put on nerves. These are also usually benign tumors, though meningiomas may be malignant. Nerve sheath tumors affect the nerve roots branching off from the spinal column. These are also usually slow-growing and benign, and they may develop for years before any neurological symptoms occur.

Spine tumors can spread from other parts of the body. These metastasized tumors usually spread from breast or lung cancer in women, and from prostate and lung cancer in men.

Do spinal tumors have symptoms?

While tumors can grow without you being aware, depending on the type of tumor and its location, you may experience certain symptoms. For example, back pain is common to both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, typically the first symptom for each. Pain may also radiate to other parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected. Other common symptoms include:

  • Numbness or loss of sensation in your arms or legs
  • Decreased sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Muscle weakness in the affected areas
  • Loss of coordination in the affected areas
  • Bowel and bladder function is impaired or lost

How are spinal tumors treated?

As with any tumor, the best-case situation is its complete removal. However, since treatment options may put the spinal cord at risk, many factors are considered before treating a spinal tumor. These factors include your age and general health, the type of tumor and where it’s located, and whether it originates in the spine or spread from another part of the body.

Therefore, it’s possible that treatment for your tumor may simply be monitoring, particularly if it isn’t producing any symptoms. For patients who are older or susceptible to the risks of surgery or radiation treatments, periodic observation and testing may be the best approach.

If action is necessary, radiation, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, and surgery are options, though not every technique works with every tumor type.

When many people think of cancer, the spine may not be their first guess for a tumor’s location. However, there are several types of primary tumors that affect the bones and nerves of the spine, as well as those that metastasize from cancer elsewhere in the body.

Your best solution for treatment is the team of experienced spine and neurosurgeons of Arizona Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists, located in Phoenix and Peoria, Arizona.

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