Spinal tumors are caused when an abnormal mass of tissue forms within the spinal cord, soft tissues of the spine or the bones of the spine (vertebrae).
Spinal tumors can be non-cancerous or cancerous and are classified by the location of the spine that they affect. Spinal tumor types include: intramedullary, intradural extramedullary and extradural.
Symptoms associated with spinal tumors are different for each person and are related to the type and location of the tumor. Common symptoms can include:
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
It’s not clear why most spinal tumors develop. Experts suspect that most are linked to defective genes. But it’s usually not known whether such genetic defects are inherited, develop over time or are caused by something in the environment, such as exposure to certain chemicals.
Spinal cord tumors are more common in people with known inherited syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis 2 and von Hippel-Lindau disease.
The goal of spinal tumor treatment is to eliminate the tumor completely, but this goal may be complicated by the risk of permanent damage to the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. Dr. Kalra also must take into account your age and overall health. The type of tumor and whether it arises from the structures of the spine or spinal canal or has spread to your spine from somewhere else in your body must be considered in determining the best course of treatment. Treatment options for most spinal tumors include:
- Monitoring. If small tumors aren’t growing or pressing on surrounding tissues, careful observation may be all that’s needed. This includes periodic CT or MRI scans.
- Surgery. This is often the treatment of choice for tumors that can be removed with an acceptable risk of spinal cord or nerve injury damage. Newer techniques and instruments allow Dr. Kalra to reach tumors that were once considered inaccessible.
- Radiation Therapy. This may be used to eliminate any remnants of tumors that remain after surgery, to treat inoperable tumors or to treat those tumors where surgery is too risky.
- Chemotherapy. A standard treatment for many types of cancer, chemotherapy uses medications to destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing.
New Hope From a Spine Expert
When world-class training meets hometown values deeply rooted in family and community, the result is the kind of medical care you’ve always hoped for. This describes Kalra Brain & Spine, the practice of Dr. Ricky Kalra, who specializes in the most up-to-date evidence-based neurological care. If your condition requires neurosurgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kalra today.