What is Spinal Tumor ?
Spinal tumor refers to the abnormal mass or lump of tissues that develops in the spinal cord as a result of uncontrollable cell multiplication. These can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Malignant tumors that originate in the spine itself are known as primary tumors where as those which spread to the spine from some other site are known as metastatic tumors.
A spinal tumor is a growth that develops within your spinal canal or within the bones of your spine. A spinal cord tumor, also called an intradural tumor, is a spinal tumor that that begins within the spinal cord or the covering of the spinal cord (dura). A tumor that affects the bones of the spine (vertebrae) is called a vertebral tumor.
Areas within your spinal column
Healthcare providers also describe spinal tumors based on where they form within your spinal column.
- Intradural-extramedullary tumor: This type of tumor is located inside the thin covering of your spinal cord (dura) but outside of your actual spinal cord. Approximately 40% of all spinal tumors are in this area.
- Intramedullary tumor: This type of tumor grows inside of your spinal cord. Approximately 5% of all spinal tumors are in this area.
- Extradural tumor: This type of tumor is located outside your dura (the thin covering surrounding your spinal cord), which includes your vertebrae (the bones that form your spine). Approximately 55% of spinal tumors are in this area.
Tumors from other parts of the body can spread (metastasize) to the vertebrae, the supporting network around the spinal cord or, in rare cases, the spinal cord itself.
Spinal tumors or growths of any kind can lead to pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis. A spinal tumor can be life-threatening and cause permanent disability.
Treatment for a spinal tumor may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications.