Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths of tissue that develop within or near the spinal cord or spinal column. These tumors can be classified as primary or secondary (metastatic) based on their origin.

  1. Primary Spinal Tumors:

    • Intramedullary Tumors: Arise from cells within the spinal cord itself.
    • Extramedullary Tumors: Develop in the supporting structures (e.g., nerve roots, meninges) around the spinal cord.
  2. Secondary (Metastatic) Spinal Tumors:

    • These tumors originate from cancer cells that have spread to the spine from other parts of the body (e.g., lung, breast, prostate).

Common Types of Primary Spinal Tumors:

  1. Astrocytomas and Ependymomas: These are types of gliomas, which are tumors arising from glial cells. Gliomas can be found within the spinal cord (intramedullary) or in the supporting tissues outside the cord (extramedullary).

  2. Meningiomas: Arise from the meninges, which are the protective layers surrounding the spinal cord. Meningiomas are usually benign and slow-growing.

  3. Schwannomas and Neurofibromas: Tumors originating from nerve cells or the sheaths around nerves. Schwannomas often arise from peripheral nerves.

  4. Hemangioblastomas: Rare tumors that can occur in the spinal cord, often associated with a genetic condition called von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.

  5. Chordomas and Chondrosarcomas: Rare tumors that develop in the bones of the spine.

Symptoms of Spinal Tumors:

  • Pain in the back or neck.
  • Radicular pain (pain radiating along nerve pathways).
  • Weakness or numbness in the limbs.
  • Problems with balance and coordination.
  • Changes in bowel or bladder function.
  • Sensory disturbances, such as tingling or loss of sensation.


  • Imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans are used to visualize the tumor and its location.
  • Biopsy may be necessary to determine the tumor type and guide treatment.


  • Treatment depends on the type, location, and grade of the tumor.
  • Surgery may be performed to remove the tumor, especially in cases of accessible and benign tumors.
  • Radiation therapy may be used to target and shrink tumors.
  • Chemotherapy is less commonly used for spinal tumors than for tumors in other parts of the body.

Category:Spinal Tumours

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