Spinal cord tumor


Spinal tumors symptoms are uncommon therefore it could be overlooked as other disease. It is important to have a consultation with the specialist for physical and neurological examinations.

The following test are used for diagnosis and the location of the tumor.

  • Spinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to present clear images of the spine, spinal cord and nerves. It may also be done without or with a contrast agent injection for a more specific view of the tissues and structures.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan. A narrow radiation beam is use to produce a more detailed images of the spine.
  • Tissue Biopsy. Is a removal of suspected tissue for laboratory test. The biopsy result will help determine the cell types and choose the right treatment options for the patient.
  • Blood tests. Specific blood test (calcium and alkaline phosphatase) will be ordered to determine any blood abnormalities.


The type, location and stage of cancer are some of the factors which can affect how to choose which treatment to apply aside from the general health and personal choice of treatment.


Spinal cord tumors may be found asymptomatic. The tumors then need to be closely observed and imaging such as CT scan or MRI must be done. If they are still small, aren’t growing and not compressing surrounding tissue, usually no intervention is needed.


The most common treatment for spinal cord tumor is surgical removal with bearable spinal cord or nerve injury risk. Due to the modern technology and the new instruments, neurosurgeons are able to access those points that prior were inaccessible. They do this by using high-powered microscopes and performing microsurgery in order to better differentiate the tumor from healthy tissues. Neuromonitoring has been used during spinal surgery to monitor the function of the spinal cord to prevent intraoperative injury. Not all of the tumor can be removed by surgery even with all the technological innovations. Radiation or chemotherapy or both may sometimes be used after the surgery to eliminate the remaining tumor.

Radiation Therapy

After surgery there may be residual tumor left, radiation therapy uses to destroy the remaining tumors that cannot be surgically removed. If surgical treatment of tumors are too dangerous or cannot be perform, radiotherapy can be an option.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It also prevents the cancer cells from growing. Chemotherapy can be used alone or combined with radiation therapy. Patient may feel fatigue, nausea, vomiting, increased risk of infection and hair loss as a side effect of the treatment.

Other medications

Corticosteroids may be used in order to minimize swelling when undergoing surgery or radiation. Corticosteroid can make serious side effect such as osteoporosis, diabetic, increased risk of infection and muscle weakness.