Spinal cancer is quite rare. If we look at the incidence rate of cancers in Central Nervous System (CNS) including spinal cord cancer in United States you will observe that the number is low. As of 2007, CNS cancers among adults are 6.4 new cases in every 100,000 persons and 2.9 new cases every 100,000 persons among individuals age 19 years old and younger. There is an increase rate of incidence today compared to their last record year 1975. This is most likely because of the advance imaging facilities that can diagnose the condition accurately (National Cancer Institute).
Back pain is one sign of spinal cancer that is why it is no surprise if an individual gets worried when one experience severe back pain. The following are the general symptoms which is associated with a spinal cancer or tumor;
• Back pains which is accompanied with chills, fever, vomiting, nausea, rapid weight loss and loss of appetite.
• Pain that does not lessens with rest and is worst during night time than day time.
• Pain that gets worst with direct manipulation in the affected area of the spine.
• Pain in the focal spine is worse in the morning.
• Pain in the back that often is followed with neurological problems is the most common symptoms. Neurological problem often includes numbness or weakness of the legs or arms and a change in the bladder and bowel habits.
Types of Spinal Tumors
Vertebral Column Tumors
Primary Tumors. This kind of tumor you will find in the vertebral column and this usually grows either in the disc or in the bone of the spine and is usually common in young adults. Osteosarcoma is the most common as well as the most malignant bone tumor. Primary tumors in the spine are rare and develop slowly.
Metastatic Tumors. Most of the time, tumors spreads or metastasize in other parts of the body and these tumors usually bring forth pain that is not relieve with rest and it may be worst at night. This is often accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, chills, fever and weight loss. For women spinal tumors often metastasize from cancer that comes in the lung or breast while in men, spinal tumors often spread from cancer that is from lung or prostate.
These tumors grow inside the spinal canal but not within the nerves. Most often these tumors are benign and slow to grow. Yet they still can cause symptoms like weakness and pain. The most common tumors of this type are Meningiomas and nerve sheath tumors. The former you can find in the membranes enclosing the spinal cord. These tumors are usually benign although there are instances that it is malignant too. This is quite common with middle and elderly women. The latter can be in the nerve roots that come off the spinal cord. Again this kind of tumor is benign and slow to grow.
This type of tumor grows in the inside of the spinal cord. This tumor is most common in the cervical spine or the neck. This kind of tumor is quite benign but surgery to remove the tumor may be a little bit difficult. The most common type of intramedullary tumors is Ependymomas and astrocytomas.
Generally treatment for spinal cancer is removal of the tumor through surgery followed by chemotherapy if the tumor has spread already.
If you or your love one experience severe and prolong pain in the back then it is time for you to consult your doctor. Tumors or cancer in the spine is quite rare but it is still best that you go for a check-up to save yourself the worries and to eliminate some doubts regarding your health. Early detection can help too in managing the problem.