Spinal tumors are rare and usually begin in other parts of the body, spreading through the bloodstream to the spinal cord. Spinal tumors can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Because both types of tumors can cause spinal cord compression as well as the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain, they are a serious health risk and must be promptly diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms of tumors are diverse and affect different parts of the body, depending upon the location of the tumor. They may include pain or numbness in the arms, neck, legs or back; loss of muscle strength, motor skills or feeling in the extremities; decreased skin sensitivity to temperature changes; and loss of bladder and/or bowel control. Treatment options may involve a combination of a spine surgeon performing spinal tumor surgery, to reduce the size of the lesion, plus radiation and/or chemotherapy.