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Spinal Tumours


The most common symptom of a spinal tumour is constant back or neck pain. The pain can occur at rest, be worse at night, and may or may not be related to activity.

In some cases there may be irritation of the nerve roots, which emerge from the spinal cord at the level of the problem, causing pain to refer to the buttock, groin or hamstring region. This is known as sciatica. In other cases, the pain may be felt in the front of the thighs. tumours of the cervical spine may cause pain, tingling or numbness of the arms.

Other symptom may include paraparesis (slight paralysis), spinal deformity (e.g. scoliosis, kyphosis), and fever.

The back or neck pain is not usually aggravated by activity and nor is it relieved by lying down or resting.

The diagnosis can usually be made by an x-ray of the spine. A CT scan or MRI scan may also show the problem.  Bone scans may show abnormal bone activity before the tumour is apparent on X-ray.   Besides surgical removal, a biopsy is the only way to tell if a tumour is benign or malignant. A biopsy involves removing a small tissue sample and examining it under a microscope.

About Spinal Tumours

Spinal tumours are rare.  They are either benign or malignant. Spinal tumours are caused by an abnormal regulation of cell division. Such a cell abnormality cells to divide and grow aggressively and out of control.

Malignant tumours of the breast, prostate, lung, and kidney can spread into the spine as they metastasize (spread) via arteries, veins, the lymphatic system, and directly.

Tumours may cause weakening of the bone structure leading to fractures .Benign spinal tumours can be dangerous when they cause spinal canal compression, which may lead to neurologic dysfunction (e.g. paralysis).

Some spinal tumours are related to the spinal nerves causing local neurological dysfunctions


Not all spinal tumours require immediate surgical removal. Sometimes the tumour is monitored for change. This is a common approach in small benign tumours.