The spinal cord runs through a canal that extends from the base of your spine to the base of your neck, providing a pathway for nerves to communicate throughout the body. Tumors can grow within your spinal cord, causing constriction to the nerves and putting pressure on the spinal cord itself. The pressure exerted by these tumors can result in damage to the spinal cord or the nerves that sprout off of it.
Classifications Of Tumors
Tumors are classified on grades from 1 to 4, each grade indicating a faster advancement of the tumor in question. Grade 1 tumors grow at the slowest rate, with grade four growing at the fastest. Additionally, tumors are classified as malignant or benign, with malignant indicating that the tumors are cancerous in nature and benign being non-cancerous. Each type of tumor is treated differently, with treatment being most heavily affected by whether the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous.
Types Of Tumors
Even just considering those tumors that grow within the brain and spinal cord several types exist. Each type of tumor is classified by different elements of their growth and placement. A few different types of tumor are listed below:
- Astrocytomas: This type of cancer grows within the brain and spinal cord in cells that are shaped like stars. Part of the family of tumors known as gliomas, this cancer grow from those cells responsible for the support and defense of your nerve fibers known as “Glial cells”
- Ependymomas: This type of tumor grows with fluid-filled growths inside and present in the middle of the spinal cord. These tumors are also gliomas and can appear in the brain or spinal cord.
- Hemangioblastomas: These tumors are rare, and are distinguished by their growth appearing in the blood vessels in your spinal cord and in your brain. These tumors cause weakness in the legs and can affect your balance as they press on your spinal cord. These tumors are typically non-cancerous.
- Meningiomas: Among spinal tumors, these tumors are some of the most common, occurring in 25% of cases. They occur more frequently in women in their middle age or older. They appear in the three membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. They don’t tend to be cancerous, but they do have a tendency to spread rapidly.
How Are Spinal Tumors Typically Treated?
As mentioned earlier, how a tumor is treated is heavily dependent on the specifics of the tumor. The treatment begins with an examination of organs where cancers typically develop, this is due to the tendency for spinal cancer to occur as a result of cancers in other organs. Treatment involves the removal of the tumors when possible with an aim to preserving neurological function. Due to the complex nature of determining the proper treatment for a spinal tumor, a consultation with your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV, Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin will be necessary to determine the specifics.
Spinal tumors are potentially very dangerous if you think you’re suffering from any symptoms which could indicate the presence of tumors in your spine contact your physician immediately. A consultation and exam will follow that can help preserve your life and quality of life through proper treatment if spinal tumors are found.