Spinal tumors can grow anywhere along the spinal column, or the bones and tissues that cover the spinal cord. They can also grow in the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Tumors involving the bones of the spine can press on the spinal cord or nerve roots and weaken it. This can lead to pain and nerve damage that can cause permanent disability. Getting treatment quickly, however, may prevent such complications from developing or worsening.

Some tumors begin in the spine and can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). More often, malignant spinal tumors come from cancer that has spread from other organs, such as the lungs, breast or prostate.

Spinal Tumor Symptoms

Tumors of the spine may cause:

  • Severe back pain that often:
    • Spreads to the hips, legs, feet or arms
    • Worsens over time
    • Doesn’t improve with standard, non-surgical remedies
  • Loss of sensation or poor coordination in the extremities
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Muscle weakness, muscle spasms or loss of muscle function
  • Scoliosis or other spinal deformities

Spinal Tumor Treatment at Valley

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

  • The first step is to obtain advanced imaging to define the tumor location and involvement of surrounding tissues. This information is used to create a comprehensive treatment plan. 
  • The treatment goal for spinal tumors 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, or have advanced, we may recommend spine surgery to remove it.
  • Other services, such as physical therapy, may be used to help you regain function and muscle strength.

Why Choose Valley for Spinal 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.
  • Advanced radiation therapy: If radiation is part of your treatment, Valley offers the most advanced and most accurate treatment system available. With ExacTrac by BrainLab, your doctor can target the tumor with unparalleled precision and monitor your treatment as it’s delivered. Using this technique, radiation therapy can sometimes be completed in as few as three to five treatments.
  • 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.