Spinal Cord Tumors
Also known as: intramedullary tumors, extramedullary tumors, metastatic tumors
What are spinal cord tumors?
If a tumor grows within (~ 10%), in the tissues around, or spreads from a different site to the spinal cord region, it is known as a spinal cord tumor. They are less common than brain tumors and tend to occur in older children and adolescents. Many of the tumors that start in the spinal cord begin in its surrounding tissues. (e.g meningiomas, ependymomas etc). Less commonly they start in cells in the spinal cord.
Often tumors from other parts of the body spread to the spinal cord. If the tumor starts in the cells around the spinal cord, it’s known as Extramedullary. Tumors that grow in the spinal cord are called Intramedullary.
What causes spinal cord tumors?
No one is certain why spinal cord tumors develop. It appears that defective genes, some genetic disorders, viruses, exposure to some chemicals or hazardous substances and abnormalities in how the immune system works may all play a role.
What are the symptoms of spinal cord tumors?
Symptoms of spinal cord tumors can range from none at all to many, including pain, numbness, weakness, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
What are spinal cord tumor care options?
A benign tumor that causes no symptoms might not need treatment. Some tumors may require surgical removal, and cancerous tumors may require follow-up radiation treatment or chemotherapy to rid the body of cancer. At Nicklaus Children's hospital neurologists, neurosurgeons, oncologists, and a team of other specialists are available to diagnose and deliver the best care plan needed for your child.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:11 AM
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