Both malignant and benign spinal tumours are serious and need urgent attention.
Spinal tumours key points
- Spinal tumours are tumours that grow either inside or around the spine.
- They may be malignant or benign.
- Whether these tumours are cancerous or benign, they are always serious.
- There are two types of spinal tumours: either they are metastatic tumours (a tumour that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the spine) or primary spine tumours (a tumour originating within the spine).
- There are 3 reasons that surgery is needed to treat spinal tumours, which I explain below.
Spinal tumours Brisbane
What is it?
Spinal tumours are tumours that grow either inside or around the spine.
Tumours of the spine are quite rare. There are two main types we see.
- Metastasis: This is a form of cancer that starts in another part of the body and migrates or spreads via the bloodstream to the spine. Metastatic tumours are the most common type of spinal tumours and are always malignant. The most common cancers that spread to the spine are blood cancers such as multiple myeloma, plasmacytoma and lymphoma. The other most common cancers are prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Lung cancer also spreads to the spine.
- Primary spine tumour: The other type of spinal tumour is a primary spine tumour. Primary tumours originate within the spine itself. This is unlike metastases which arise from another body part first (e.g. the lungs, breast, or blood cells). Also, most primary spine tumours are benign, though not all.
Symptoms of a spinal tumour
What are the symptoms?
It doesn’t matter if it is cancer or benign, spinal tumours are serious. Obviously cancer is more serious but benign tumours can cause serious problems. I always organise urgent surgery for these tumours to prevent the patient from getting worse and to give them the best chance of regaining any lost neurological function.
Spinal surgeon Brisbane
Causes of a spinal tumour
What causes it? Did I do something to cause it? Is it genetic, will it affect my family?
Spinal tumours treatment Brisbane
How is it treated?
Spinal tumour surgery in Brisbane
Do I need surgery?
There are 3 reasons that surgery is needed to treat spinal tumours, and this is for both cancerous metastasis and more benign primary tumours.
- To get a diagnosis: Often it is impossible to tell what type of tumour it is just by looking at the scan. To be certain a part of the tumour has to be collected and sent to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope. After this, it is almost always 100% clear what type of tumour it is. So the first reason I might need to operate is simply to get some of the tumour to send off.
- To take pressure off the spinal cord or nerves: This is very important. If the spinal cord is being compressed then surgery is often required as an emergency to take the pressure off before the spinal cord is injured permanently.
- To strengthen the spine if the bones are weak or have collapsed: This is achieved by putting in rods and screws to hold everything together.
Spinal tumour neurosurgeon in Brisbane
What should I do now?
Ready to make an appointment?
Ramsay Specialist Centre
Greenslopes QLD 4120
(07) 3397 4185