What is Spine Tumor Treatment?

October 19, 2021 Cancer Hub 321 Views

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What is the meaning of Spine Tumors Treatment?

Treatment modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy which are used for the treatment of spine tumors are known spine tumor treatments. 

Spine tumors are the abnormal growths of tissue that are found inside the spinal column (the spine or the backbone).

Spine tumors can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The tumors that begin in the spine are known as primary tumors and are rare. Cancer that originates in another part of the body and travels to the spine is known as a secondary or metastatic tumor.

In this article, we will be discussing in detail about spine cancer and its treatment.

  • What are the types of Spine Tumors?
  • What are the causes of Spine Tumors?
  • What are the risk factors for Spine Tumors?
  • What are the symptoms of Spine Tumors?
  • How to diagnose Spine Tumors?
  • What are the various Spine Tumors Treatments?
  • What are the complications of Spine Tumor Treatments?
  • How to prevent Spine Tumors?
  • What is the cost of Spine Tumors Treatment in India?

What are the types of Spine Tumors?

The main types of spine tumors are:

  • Intramedullary tumors: These tumors begin in the cells present within the spinal cord (a long tube-like structure that begins at the end of the brain stem and goes down to almost the bottom of the spine).

Intramedullary tumors include:

  • Glioma: It begins in the gluey supportive cells, also known as glial cells that surround the nerve cells, and help them to function. It is a type of tumor that occurs in the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Astrocytoma: A tumor occurring in the brain and the spinal cord that begins in the astrocytes cells that support the nerve cells is known as astrocytoma.
  • Ependymoma: A type of tumor that begins in the ependymal cells of the brain and the spinal cord, lining the passageways where the cerebrospinal fluid (a body fluid found within the tissue surrounding the brain and the spinal cord) flows.
  • Extramedullary tumors: These tumors either grow in the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord or the nerve roots that come out from the spinal cord. These tumors do not begin in the spinal cord itself, but they may affect the function of the spinal cord leading to the compression of the spinal cord and other complications.

Extramedullary tumors include:

  • Meningioma: It is a tumor arising from the meninges, which are the membranes surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. It is the most common type of tumor that is formed in the head. ( Know more about- What is Brain Injury? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention )
  • Neurofibroma: It is a type of nerve tumor. It forms as soft bumps on or under the skin.
  • Schwannoma: It is a type of nerve tumor formed in the nerve sheath. It is the most common type of non-cancerous (benign) peripheral nerve tumor in adults.
  • Chordoma: It is a rare type of bone cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull or the spine.

What are the causes of Spine Tumors?

  • The exact cause of the spine tumor is not clear.
  • It most likely develops due to defective genes. However, it is not known whether the genetic defects are inherited or develop later on.
  • The genetic defects could be caused due to exposure to certain chemicals.
  • The uncontrolled growth among the cells residing in the spinal column may cause spine tumors.
  • Spine tumors are linked to known inherited syndromes like:
  • Neurofibromatosis 2: In this disorder, the development of the benign tumors is seen on or near the nerves that are related to hearing. This can lead to progressive hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease: It is a rare, multisystem disease that is linked to the blood vessel tumors (known as hemangioblastomas) in the brain, spinal cord, and retina. It is also associated with other types of tumors in the kidneys or the adrenal glands.

What are the risk factors for Spine Tumors?

Some factors increase the risk of developing spine tumors. These factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Neurofibromatosis 2
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • A weak immune system ( Know more about- Diet plan for immunity )
  • Family history
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

What are the symptoms of Spine Tumors?

The symptoms of spine tumors are:

  • Pain at the tumor site
  • Back pain radiating to the other parts of the body
  • Back pain that becomes worse at night
  • Loss of bladder function
  • Loss of bowel function
  • Feeling less sensitive to heat, cold, and pain ( Know more about- Natural Remedies for Nerve Pain )
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Loss of sensation in the legs or arms ( Know more about- What is Vertigo? Causes, Symptoms , Treatments )

How to diagnose Spine Tumors?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will first physically examine the patient. The symptoms of the patient are noted, along with the medical and family history of the patient.
  • Spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: This procedure involves using a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to create accurate images of the spine, spinal cord, and nerves. ( Know more about- What is Skull Base Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost)
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This procedure makes use of radio waves for producing detailed images of the spine.
  • Biopsy: A small sample of the tissue growth is excised and sent to the laboratory to check for the presence of cancer cells and their type, if present.

What are the various Spine Tumors Treatments?

The various forms of treatment for spine tumors are:

  • Monitoring:
    • Sometimes spinal tumors are diagnosed accidentally when the patient is being evaluated for another disease.
    • If the spinal tumors are small, not growing, or pressing on the surrounding tissues the doctor will only monitor their progress.
    • Periodic CT or MRI scans are recommended at regular intervals for monitoring the tumor.
  • Surgery:
    • Surgery is the treatment of choice for spine tumors that can be removed with an acceptable risk of damage to the spinal cord or a nerve injury.
    • It involves the partial or total removal of the spine tumor.
    • The surgery may be followed by spinal fusion, which is used for the reconstruction and stabilization of the spine. Spinal fusion is a procedure that involves the joining of the bones together with bone grafts or screws for stabilization.
    • Surgery is recommended when:
    • All other treatment methods have failed to provide relief from pain
    • It is necessary to obtain stabilization of the spine
    • A few spinal vertebrae (bones of the spinal cord) have been destructed
    • Nerves are compressed
    • A biopsy is required
  • Radiation therapy:
    • This procedure includes the use of high-powered energy beams to kill the cancer cells.
    • Radiation therapy may be used for the removal of any remnants of the tumor that may be remaining after surgery.
    • Radiation therapy may also be used for the treatment of inoperable tumors or treatment of tumors in which surgery is too risky.

  • Chemotherapy:
    • Chemotherapy involves the use of medications for killing the cancer cells, or for stopping their growth.
    • Chemotherapy is sometimes used in combination with radiation therapy.
  • Other drugs:

What are the complications of Spine Tumor Treatments?

The following complications may be associated with spine tumor treatments:

  • Loss of sensation
  • Bleeding 
  • Damage to the nerve tissue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increase in risk of infection
  • Loss of hair
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become brittle and weak) ( Know more about- What is a Slipped Disc? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention )

If you notice any of the above complications, inform your doctor immediately.

How to prevent Spine Tumors?

There is no method to prevent spine tumors. However, the following tips help in avoiding the development of spine tumors:

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals
  • Protect yourself with a facemask if your occupation involves exposure to irritants or toxins

What is the cost of Spine Tumors Treatment in India?

The total cost of spine tumors treatment in India can range from around INR 2,50,000 to INR 4,00,000. However, the cost of the procedure may vary across different hospitals. There are many big hospitals and specialized doctors in India for spine tumor treatment. The cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the expenses of spine tumor treatment, there will be a cost of staying in a hotel, cost of living, and cost of local travel. Apart from this, after the procedure, the patient is kept in hospital for 5 days and in the hotel for 15 days for recovery. So, the total cost of spine tumors treatment in India will be around INR 3,00,000 to INR 4,60,000. 

We hope that we were able to answer all your questions regarding spine tumors and spine tumors treatment through this article.

If you want more information and treatment for spine tumors, you can contact the Surgical Oncologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan.

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