Tumors that press on the spinal cord or nerve roots can cause damage to blood vessels, nerves, bones and more. Sometimes this damage can lead to permanent disability. Getting treatment quickly, however, may prevent such complications from developing or worsening.

Spinal cord tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Primary spinal cord tumors are ones that develop in the nerves of the spinal cord. Tumors that spread to the spinal cord from somewhere else in the body are called metastatic spinal tumors.

Spinal Cord Tumor Symptoms

Primary spinal cord tumors may cause:

  • Severe back pain (especially in the middle or lower back) that often:
    • Spreads to the hips, legs, feet or arms
    • Worsens over time
    • Doesn’t improve with standard, non-surgical remedies
  • Loss of sensation, weakness or poor coordination in the extremities, especially the legs (with or without shooting pain down the leg)
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Muscle weakness, muscle spasms or loss of muscle function
  • Scoliosis or other spinal deformities

Spinal Cord Tumor Treatment at Valley

Your spinal cord tumor treatment plan will depend on the type of tumor and your symptoms:

  • We may recommend using imaging first to observe tumors that are small and not causing symptoms before we determine a treatment plan.
  • For other spinal cord tumors, the goal is to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord — and reduce the resulting nerve damage — caused by the tumor.
  • We may recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for some tumors.
  • For tumors that do not respond to radiation, we may recommend surgery.
  • Other services, such as physical therapy, may be used to help patients regain function and muscle strength.

Why Choose Valley for Spinal Cord Tumors?

  • Multidisciplinary, team approach: Our patients benefit from Valley’s multidisciplinary approach that integrates the expertise of many different specialists. Our team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, neuro-radiologists, a neuro-psychologist and a highly skilled nursing team.
  • Individualized treatment plans: Our team works with you — and with each other — to create a tailored treatment plan that best fits your situation. That includes focusing on your physical and medical needs as well as your emotional needs.
  • Mount Sinai partnership: Valley and Mount Sinai have partnered to create additional opportunities for our patients with cancer. That includes being able to access a greater number of cancer clinical trials and Mount Sinai’s cancer specialists.

Clinical research: Many of our team are engaged in leading-edge research to expand treatment options and improve patients’ quality of life during and after treatment.