Munson Health
 
Spinal Tumor

Back to Document

 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam may be done. Your doctor may also do some neurologic tests to look for the source of your back problems.
Images of the spine will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Images may be taken with:
Once the tumor is confirmed, a biopsy may be done. A small piece of the tumor will be removed and tested to determine if it is cancer.
The biopsy and further image testing will help your doctor learn more about the tumor. Staging helps describe certain characteristics of the cancer. It may indicate the size of the tumor and whether it has spread. Staging will help your doctor develop the most effective treatment plan.
 

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the type of tumor and its location. Options may include:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given in many forms including pill, injection, and catheter (IV or port). The drugs travel through the bloodstream to kill cancer cells but some healthy cells are killed as well.
It may be used as treatment alone or with other treatments such as surgery.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given in many forms including pill, injection, and catheter (IV or port). The drugs travel through the bloodstream to kill cancer cells but some healthy cells are killed as well.
It may be used as treatment alone or with other treatments such as surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy involves the use of radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink the tumor. It may be able to reduce the size of the tumor. This may be a cure or will reduce the size of the tumor to decrease symptoms. Radiation may also be used to shrink the tumor before surgery.
There are multiple forms of radiation depending on the location of the tumor and goals of treatment. The goal is to deliver the right amount of radiation to the tumor without affecting too many of the nearby healthy cells.
Radiation therapy involves the use of radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink the tumor. It may be able to reduce the size of the tumor. This may be a cure or will reduce the size of the tumor to decrease symptoms. Radiation may also be used to shrink the tumor before surgery.
There are multiple forms of radiation depending on the location of the tumor and goals of treatment. The goal is to deliver the right amount of radiation to the tumor without affecting too many of the nearby healthy cells.

Surgery

Surgery is not an option for all. The location and size of the tumor and the progression of the tumor will all be considered before surgery. Surgery may be done as:
Surgery is not an option for all. The location and size of the tumor and the progression of the tumor will all be considered before surgery. Surgery may be done as:
  • Cure for cancer if the cancer started in spine
  • Part of cancer treatment that includes chemotherapy or radiation
  • Treatment to try to relieve pain or disability
  • Treatment for tumors that do not respond to chemotherapy or radiation

Observation

Benign tumors that are not causing symptoms, or have mild symptoms, may not need treatment. Your doctor will monitor the tumor to look for any changes.
 

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
http://www.aans.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

Cancer Care Ontario
http://www.cancercare.on.ca

 

References


Spinal tumors. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Spinal%20Tumors.aspx. Updated February 2012. Accessed June 4, 2013.


Spinal cord tumor. University of California San Francisco Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/spinal%5Fcord%5Ftumor/. Accessed June 4, 2013.


Spinal tumors. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 20, 2013. Accessed June 4, 2013.


Spinal tumors. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website. Available at: http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/cancer-types/spinal-tumors/index.html. Accessed June 4, 2013.

 

Revision Information