Spinal cord tumors can arise from the spinal cord or its linings. They can also develop from tumors that spread to the bone or spinal canal from other sites. If the tumor compresses a nerve or the spinal cord, it can result in paralysis. Loss of sensation, motor function and bladder function may occur. It the tumor compresses a single nerve, sensory and motor changes will confined to a smaller area. Tumors in the neck may affect the arms and the legs. Tumors of the thoracic and lumbar spine will only affect the legs. Primary tumors arising from the spinal cord are rare. Tumors of the nerve roots are more common. If the tumors produce destruction of the spine, they can lead to pain and spinal deformity. The spinal deformity can further damage the nervous system.
Causes of Spinal Cord Tumor
Primary tumors of the spinal cord, such as Astrocytomas or Ependymomas are rare. Tumors arising from the nerve roots, Schwanomas or neurofibromas, and tumors of the linings of the spine, meningiomas, are more common. Most spinal cord tumors, however, are the result of metastasis. Here, cancer from some other site spreads to the spine and spinal cord through the blood stream, the lymphatic system or by direct extension. Some cancers that are inclined to spread to the spine include cancer of the lung, breast, intestinal tract, prostate, kidney, thyroid, or lymphatic system.
Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Cord Tumor
The symptoms of spinal tumors depend on their location. When they occur in the cervical spine, they may produce neck pain. The pain may radiate into the arms, back of the head or shoulder blades. Weakness, numbness and tingling may occur in the arms or the legs. Unstable gait may occur and there may be problems with bowel and bladder function. Involvement in the thoracic spine is most common with metastatic tumors. They frequently produce pain and may lead to pathological fractures. Weakness, numbness and tingling are confined to the legs. Bowel and bladder function may be affected. Tumors of the Lumbar spine may produce low back pain, leg pain and buttock pain. Numbness, weakness and bowel and bladder dysfunction may develop. Spinal cord tumors of the upper cervical spine can produce a Horner's syndrome. This can lead to drooping eyelid and unequal pupils.
Find more information
Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
The information contained on this site is for the sole purpose of
being informative. This information is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical
advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse
Or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or
for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please discontinue use
of MyElectronicMD and call 911 now.
Nothing contained on or provided through the service is intended to be or is
to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
Your use of this site is subject to certain terms and conditions.