There’s no such thing as a fun tumor, but spinal tumors can be particularly frightening due to the effects on your nervous system. Fortunately, these effects act similar to an early warning system. They let you know something is wrong so you can immediately seek professional help. For more information regarding spinal tumor treatment in Los Angeles, contact Dr. Yashar. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms of a spine tumor.
What is a Spinal Tumor?
The Columbia University Department of Neurology explains that spinal tumors occur when an abnormal and potentially cancerous cell multiplies to form a mass of abnormal cells on the spinal cord or the area around it.
If the tumor began at the site of the spine, Dr. Yashar will refer to it as a primary tumor. A secondary tumor originates from another tumor. Usually, a secondary spinal tumor will be a result of cancer originating in the chest cavity or abdomen, which has traveled through the body to metastasize to the spine.
It is important to note that not all spinal tumors can be treated. The key factor is time. The earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely you are to receive successful treatment options. If you notice any of these persistent symptoms, seek a professional diagnosis from your spine specialist.
You may not have a spinal tumor, as they are relatively rare, but it is always best to know what is causing your neurological symptoms. Even if it isn’t a spinal tumor, it is in your best interest to diagnose a neurological condition as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of a Spine Tumor
John Hopkins Medicine suggests that patients seek professional diagnosis if any of the following symptoms of a spine tumor persist:
- Back or neck pain. If your persistent back or neck pain cannot be explained by your lifestyle or another condition, it is possible that it could be the result of a spinal tumor. As the tumor grows, it puts pressure on the nerves and forces a slow change in the alignment of the spine.
- Incontinence. If you suddenly lose the ability to control your bowels or bladder, it could be a neurological symptom resulting from the tumor blocking impulses through the spinal cord.
- Numbness, Trouble Walking, or Paralysis. From the relatively innocent to the debilitating, all of these symptoms can be a result of a growing tumor increasing pressure on the nerves. As the pressure increases, more advanced symptoms are likely to present.
- Spinal deformity. If you notice that the alignment of your spine seems to be changing, resulting in scoliosis or similar spinal deformity, then you should seek medical attention. It could be that a tumor is forcing your spine to move. In any case, you will need to see your doctor to rectify the issue.
If one or more of these symptoms present, you should speak with Dr. Yashar. He will want to do a full exam, and they will most likely require an MRI before recommending you to a specialist.
Spine Tumor Treatment
According to Dr. Parham Yashar, a skilled neurosurgeon specializing in spinal surgery, treatment options vary depending on the type of tumor and its size at the time of treatment. Most spinal tumors fit one of five categories.
- Spinal Gliomas: Typically treated with corticosteroids to relieve swelling, helping to decrease pressure on the spinal cord. Surgical resection of the spine and postoperative radiation therapy gives the patient increased long-term results.
- Meningiomas: These tumors arise in the membrane protecting the spinal cord. Their location tends to result in somewhat different symptoms separate from those caused solely by a physical blockage. Headaches, seizures, nausea, weakness, mood changes, and visual impairment are more common. Complete resection of the affected area is often the best course of action, but complete resection is not always possible.
- Schwannomas: These homogenous tumors can usually be removed with minimally invasive surgery if they need to be removed at all. They are almost always benign and grow very slowly. However, they will need to be monitored if surgery is not performed.
- Multiple Myeloma: These are cancerous tumors that attack white blood cells. In these cases, therapies will be used to decrease the clonal plasma cell population. Surgery may also be required to relieve pressure from the spinal column.
- Spinal Metastases: These are secondary tumors, which will be treated as part of your oncologist’s attempts to help you fight cancer. Depending on the damage to the spine, neurosurgery may be required.
Your Spine and You
Spinal tumors are scary due to the effects they can have. However, it is also these effects that can help you to identify a problem before it’s too late. So, if you are experiencing the major symptoms listed or any of those tied particularly to meningiomas, then speak to your doctor for your own peace of mind.