Spinal Tumors After Breast Cancer

Spinal TumorsSpinal tumors are the tumors in and around the spine in the central nervous system. These are abnormal growths of tissues in the spine. Spine tumors vary depending upon the locations of the tumors viz. primary and secondary. In primary spine tumor, it starts in the spine while in case of secondary spine tumor, tumors move from other locations to the spine. Secondary spine tumor mostly occurs in prostate, lung, breast and renal etc.

Secondary type of spine tumor is thus called as metastatic i.e. a condition in which cancer spreads from primary site to other locations. Spinal tumors after breast cancer can be painful and can cause compression in the nerves. It may also lead to paralysis of legs or arms. Compression in the nerves can result in weakness as well. Other symptoms associated with spinal tumors include tingling of arms or legs, numbness, problems in bladder function etc. The three common types of spinal tumors have been described below.

Spinal Tumors After Breast Cancer

Vertebral Column Tumors

Vertebral column tumors are of two types viz. primary tumors and metastatic tumors. The primary types of vertebral column tumors occur in the vertebral column. These tumors either grow from the disc of spine or from the bone. These tumors usually occur in young adults but are found to occur rarely. They are very slow in their growth. Osteosarcoma has been found to be one of the common types of malignant bone tumors.

Another type of vertebral column tumor is metastatic tumor which spreads to other parts of the body. The patients suffering from metastatic tumor experience pain which gets worst in the night. Other illnesses like nausea, weight loss, vomiting, fever etc. are some of the other symptoms associated with metastatic tumor.

Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors

In intradural-extramedullary tumors, the growth of tumors is within the spinal canal. The tumor growth in this case remains outside the nerves only. Weakness and pain are some of the symptoms associated with these tumors.

Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors

Meningiomas and nerve sheath tumors are some of the example of these types of tumors.  These tumors are slow in growth and are benign. Meningiomas are benign and occur in regions surrounding the spinal cord while nerve sheath tumors originate from nerve roots of spinal cord.

Intramedullary Tumors

Intramedullary tumors are the tumors that grow from inside spinal cord or individual nerves. These tumors mostly occur in cervical spine in the neck. These are benign tumors and are difficult to remove using surgery. Ependymomas and astrocytomas are some of the types of intramedullary tumors which are found to be very common.

Detection & Treatment of Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors can be detected using a number of methods viz. physical examination, past medical history, radiographic studies, neurological examination and MRI & CTI Scans etc.

physical examination

The spinal tumors are removed using surgical treatments. These surgical methods help in removing the tumor totally as well as preserving the neurological function. Therapies like chemotherapy, post-operative radiation therapy etc. can also be used for removing the tumors. After surgical treatments, it may take some time to heal the nerves properly.

Photo Credit: http://www.columbianeurosurgery.org/conditions/spinal-tumors/