SPINAL CORD TUMOR



A spinal cord tumor is a growth that develops within the spinal cord itself. There are two main types of tumors according to their location in the spine:

  • Intramedullary tumors are the ones that begin in the supporting cells within the spinal cord itself, such as astrocytomas or ependymomas.
  • Extramedullary tumors are the ones that develop outside the spinal cord but within the supporting network of cells around the spinal cord, such as schwannomas, meningiomas and neurofibromas.

Benign or malignant, spinal cord tumour can be life-threatening and cause permanent disability.

Cause of Spinal Cord tumour

Although there is no known cause of spinal cord tumor but following may play some role in its development:

  • Defective genes
  • Environmental factors like exposure to certain chemicals
  • A prior history of cancer
  • Inherited syndromes

 Symptoms of Spinal cord tumour

The symptoms of spinal cord tumour depend upon the location and type of spinal tumor. It may include any of the following:

  • Back pain
  • Pain radiating to other parts of the body
  • Loss of sensation, especially in arms or legs
  • Cold sensation in the legs, feet or hands
  • Difficulty walking
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat and cold
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle contractions or spasms
  • Paralysis

Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Tumor

Diagnosis of spinal cord tumor requires thorough physical and neurological examination of the patient along with following diagnostic tests:

  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Laboratory tests include:
    • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    • Spinal tap
    • Biopsy

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Treatment of Spinal cord tumour

TO prevent any loss of function of body parts, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is very important. In addition to this, rehabilitation is also required to regain nerve function. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications are recommended for benign and malignant primary spinal cord tumors.

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