Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumours
What are Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumours?
After going out from the skull, spinal cord advances in spinal columns until the tail end in waist. Benign or malign tumours may occur in the spinal cord or in the membrane structure which surrounds the spinal cord. Spinal bulb tumours are the tumours which develop in the brain as different from vertebral and spinal cord tumours. The tumours in spine and spinal cord may be benign or malign. Most of the tumours which seem on the spine which surrounds the spinal cord are the tumours which have developed because of metastasis. Breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer are the prominent type of cancers which metastasize on the spine most frequently.
What are the Symptoms of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumours?
While the symptoms may suddenly start, they may also advance slowly. The first symptom of vertebral and spinal cord tumours may reveal themselves as weakness in legs. This occurs in case of a tumour of spine or tumours which develop in spine in shape of metastasis. This weakness may advance in the patients who did not have treatment. The symptom of sudden vertebral and spinal cord tumour is a sudden feeling of weakness. Symptoms like paralysis, weakness of legs may emerge rapidly. Problems like urinary or faecal incontinence may be the symptoms of vertebral and spinal cord tumours. Because the first symptoms of vertebral and spinal cord tumours show similarity with hernia of the loins, they may not be noticed. Pain is prominent among the symptoms which slowly advance. Pain in the waist may advance day by day. The vertebral and spinal cord tumour may be overlooked in cases of low back pain which were not examined properly. The history of the tumour may even date 5 years earlier if the symptoms advance slowly.
Besides these symptoms, there may be some symptoms dependent on the main focus of cancer with the tumour caused by metastasis on the spine in general: Symptoms like weight loss, nausea-throwing up, loss of appetite may vary according to the cancer which caused metastasis. Symptoms like pain and weakness may reveal themselves as a result of the distortion of the strength of spine.
Feeling of numbness may be a symptom of vertebral and spinal cord tumour as a result of the pressure of tumour on the spinal cord. The general symptoms of vertebral and spinal cord tumours in children are as such:
Because children cannot mention their complaints like adults, complaints like pain and weakness should be taken into consideration. While every pain or weakness cannot be assessed as vertebral and spinal cord tumour:
If a toilet-trained child begins to wet themselves again, it is important to have the necessary examinations as symptoms of vertebral and spinal cord tumour.
Besides, if a child who can walk, run and play as normal begins to fall and lurch, this may also be a sign of vertebral and spinal cord tumour. Sometimes, pains of children may be confused with growth pains as well.
How the diagnosis of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumour is made?
The doctor may request the following radiological visualizations for the diagnosis:
- Radiography, that is, roentgen
- Bone scan scintigraphy
- Computer Tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance (MR)
In the situations when the tumour is close to the surface, a needle aspiration may be executed to determine from which tissues it is caused by or if there any metastasis. Sending the piece taken by this method to pathology, the treatment may be shaped. Blood tests have being done to determine any other tumour existence in the patients with vertebral and spinal cord tumour symptoms.
Making the radiological examinations with a special medication named as contrast substance may reveal where the tumour is located, what is its size and on which nerves it makes a pressure.
Sedation or general anaesthesia should be used during the diagnosis of vertebral and spinal cord tumours in children. Because it is hard for children to stand still in Magnetic Resonance (MR) or Computer Tomography (CT) machines, this method is frequently preferred.
How is the treatment of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumours?
Generally the methods of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used in the treatment of such tumours. The options and sequence of the treatment depends on the patient, type of tumour and the location it exists. Planning is vital before the start of treatment. The treatment may be shaped according to the situation of the patient, size of the tumour and the location it exists. While radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used first in some patients, surgical treatment comes to the forefront in others.
The treatment of vertebral and spinal cord tumours are executed in a multidisciplinary approach which also consists of experienced anaesthetics and specialists from different branches like in medical oncology, brain surgery, initiative radiology and neurosurgery.
Starting the vertebral and spinal cord tumour treatment, it should be assessed whether a problem is existent about the strength of the spine of patient. Fractures may occur in spine; both the tumour tissue and the fracture may form a pressure on the spinal cord. The strength of the spinal structure of the patient should be assured initially. Screwing surgery, whose material is titanium contrary to the common belief of platinum, may be applied to strengthen the spine and ensure that the patients sustain their life without any problems.
In the vertebral tumours which occur by the way of metastasis, it should be assessed whether the primary cancer of the patient is under control. If the life expectancy of the patient is long, some more effective treatments for the vertebral and spinal cord tumours may come to the fore.
Generally, the entire tumour may be taken in a small group of the vertebral tumours caused by metastasis. Methods like radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be used in order to ensure that the patients continue their social life more comfortably in case of the metastatic vertebral tumours which could not be taken entirely.
In the tumours which are caused by the spinal cord itself, the place of tumour is more important than its aggressiveness. There are a lot of differences between the operations if the spinal cord tumours in the neck and in the tail end. There are some serious risks during the operations near to the neck like respiratory paralysis.
High technology radiotherapy devices may be used before or after the operation for the treatment of the vertebral and spinal cord tumours. Positive results may generally be taken on decelerating the development and halting and downgrading the growth of benign tumours.
The surgery of vertebral and spinal cord tumours is a quite delicate issue. Advanced technology should be used during the vertebral tumour operations because this is a region where the nerve which runs all the body locates in. Neuro Monitoring which is used in these risky operations can minimize the possible complications.
It would not be possible to take the entire tumour out during the vertebral and spinal cord tumour operations. If taking the entire tumour out will harm the patient, this should be avoided. Taking the maximum amount of tumour, options like radiotherapy and chemotherapy should be considered.
What should be noted after the treatment of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumour?
Wound cleaning should be minded for healing of the wound after the operation. Nutrition should be in content of liquid and protein. Mobilisation and regular sleep have positive effects on healing. The controls should be done within the periods your doctor indicates.
Why should I have the treatment of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumour in Memorial Health Group?
The treatment of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumours is hard and complicated. We have experienced spinal surgeons who can make the treatments of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Tumour successfully in our Spine Centres within Memorial Health Group. After the surgical treatment, a joint treatment plan is made with our specialist doctors of medical oncology and radiation oncology.