Some Possible Associated Symptoms with Spine Tumours include(s):
Spine tumours can be either secondary (ie spread from elsewhere) or primary (ie tumour occurring in the spine or spinal cord/nerves itself). They can sometimes be picked up incidentally or present with a wide variety of symptoms. It is important to always maintain a high degree of suspicion in patients with a previous history of cancer as the spine is a common site for metastases (spread of the tumour). As there are many considerations for treatment of the spine, it would be prudent to seek a medical consult for these cases.
Figure: Tumour deposit in the spine causing a fracture (pathological fracture) and compression of the spinal cord
Before embarking on treament of the spine, an accurate diagnosis is first required. This is often done with an MRI and/or Computerized Tomography (CT) scan of the spine. Other tests may include blood tests or PET scans. A biopsy of the spine is sometimes done. Treatment for spine tumours often requires a multidisciplinary approach involving surgeons, medical and/or radiation oncologists. There are multiple options for surgical treatment of the spine. Where pain relief is the main aim, a simple cement injection (vertebroplasty) can be done as a day surgery procedure. Tumours may sometimes cause the spine to become unstable. In these cases, surgical treatment may involve putting in screws to provide support to the spine. When the tumour compresses on the nerve(s) and/or spinal cord, surgical treatment of the spine involves creating space for the nerves through decompression (laminectomy). Often, screws are required after this to stabilise the spine. In some cases, surgical treatment may also involve removing part or all of tumour from the vertebral body of the spine (corpectomy). Sacral tumours can behave like spine tumours. Primary sacral tumours may involve complete surgical excision (removing all the tumour) in some cases with/without stabilisation using screws. Chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and/or radiotherapy are often adjuncts to surgical treatment of the spine.
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