Spinal cord tumours are rare type of cancers which can be benign or malignant. Tumours are usually classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) based on how they behave clinically. Spinal tumours can affect people of all ages, but are most common in young and middle-aged adults. A spinal tumour develops within or near your spinal cord or within the bones of your spine.
Types of Spinal Tumours
Spinal tumours can be classified depending on their location in the spine. According to location spinal tumours are categorised as:
Extradural Spinal tumours: These tumours arise outside the dura mater (the meningeal covering around the spinal cord) and in the bones of the spine (the vertebral column). These are the most common type of spinal tumours and most common cause of the metastasis outside the central nervous system.
Intradural tumours: These tumours grow in the dura mater. They can arise from spinal cord's arachnoid membrane (meningiomas) and in the nerve roots that extend out from the spinal cord (schwannomas and neurofibromas). They often cause nerve root involvement and spinal cord compression.
Intramedullary tumours: Tumours which develop inside the spinal cord (such as the gliomas or astrocytomas) are known as intramedullary tumours. Involvement of the spinal cord leads to swelling on the spinal cord and loss of spinal cord function below the level of the spinal tumour.
Cause of spinal tumours
The exact cause of spinal tumours is not known. Some factors which increase a person’s risk of developing spinal tumour include:
Symptoms of spinal tumours
Some common symptoms of spinal tumour are:
Treatment aims to remove all the cancerous tissue (if possible). Treatment options for patients with spinal tumour include:
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