Spinal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Spinal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Spinal cancer although, not common, is easy to detect. Pain is the first and most prominent sign of Spinal cancer. Even though it is rare, it is important, never to ignore any kind of pain one may experience. There are cases, when spinal cancer was detected in patients after a visit to the doctor for common back pain. This is an eye-opener for all of us to get a routine preventive health check-up done.  
Let’s understand Spinal cancer  
Spinal cancer is the aggressive growth of abnormal cells in the spinal cord, which may further develop into a tumour. The spinal cord is the mainstay of our body. It stretches from the bottom of the brain down to our back. It is the most essential part of our nervous system. Spinal cancer can begin in the spinal cord, or the bones and fluid surrounding it. It is a rare type of cancer. There are broadly two types of spinal cancers.  

  • Metastatic tumours: Cancer that begins in some other organ and eventually spreads to the spinal cord 
  • Spinal tumour: Cancer that is formed directly in the spinal cord. 
  • Depending upon where cancer originated in the spinal anatomy, it is further divided into several types. 

 Let’s talk about the symptoms 

  • Back pain 
  • Pain at a particular site in the back 
  • Facing difficulty while walking 
  • Loss of sensation in arms or legs 
  • Experiencing muscle weakness in various parts of the body 
  • Loss of bladder or bowel function 
  • Pain which begins in the back but eventually spreads to the other parts of the body like the arms and legs 
  • Back pain that worsens at night 

It is advisable to visit the doctor if you are experiencing one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms over a long period, especially if it is persistent or progressing. 

Let’s know the causes and risk factors 

There are no established causes or risk factors for spinal cancer. Below are some of the factors which experts believe to be in some way responsible for spinal cancer. 

  • Genes: genetic defects which could be inherited or developed throughout life 
  • Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals 
  • Inherited syndromes like neurofibromatosis2 
  • The rare disorder associated with the blood vessels, the von Hippel-Lindau disease 

Let’s see the diagnosis and treatment 

If the doctor feels that there are chances of cancer, he may suggest a few tests confirming the same 

  • MRI: spinal magnetic resonance Imaging 
  • Radiation like the computerized tomography (CT scan) 
  • Biopsy 

Based on the results, the doctor may suggest a treatment or a combination of treatments. 

  • Oral drugs 
  • Surgery 
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 

Let’s get to the prevention factors 

Spinal cancer is rare, it can be easily overlooked. It is difficult to diagnose only based on the symptoms, as the symptoms are very similar to some common conditions. Hence it becomes imperative that we keep a check on our health and monitor it wisely. The best way to do that is to get a full body health check-up done once every 6 months. This helps in detecting any problems at an early stage. When the diseases are detected in an early stage it becomes very easy to prevent the progression and cure the disease. It is always difficult to curb any disease in the advanced stages. Early detection facilitates good and economical treatment options. 

Like Don McPherson says, “True prevention is not waiting for bad things to happen, it’s preventing things from happening in the first place.” 

Indus Health Plus offers various packages for health screening. Our experts will guide you to the best preventive health check-up package suited for you and will help you sail smoothly on the journey towards good health. Call us today! 

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