main of Spinal Cancer Is Fairly Rare but Definitely Serious

Spinal Cancer Is Fairly Rare but Definitely Serious

The word cancer is often associated with a grim fate. It invades your body and metastasizes, destroying healthy tissues and leaving pain.

For spinal cancer, the experience is equally awful. Spinal cancer affects the spine, which supports the central nervous system. The spine is also the primary support structure for the body. This is why spinal cancer is categorized as a fatal disease. 

Although cancer cases are always in the form of cancerous cells in body tissues, only a few occur in bones and peripheral nerves, which makes spinal cancer a rare disease. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, dangers, and treatment options of spinal cancer.

Causes of Spinal Cancer

If a person has ever had other forms of cancer before, there is a greater chance of developing spinal cancer. Cancerous cells from a certain part of the body can sometimes spread to the spine. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and multiple myeloma are most likely to spread to the spine.

Electromagnetic radiation increases the risk of spinal cancer. Those who work in nuclear power plants or those exposed to high levels of radioactive elements such as uranium, plutonium, strontium-90, and polonium are at risk of developing spinal cancer.

Long-term exposure to chemicals that are known to cause cancer can be dangerous. Some of the chemicals known to cause cancer include, chloroform, mercury, lead, and benzene.

If a person has a weakened immune system, they are more likely to develop spinal cancer. People with compromised immune systems include those who have congenital conditions, those who have had unsuccessful organ transplants, those who have had treatments for other cancers, and those who have HIV/AIDS.

Hereditary conditions such as tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Gorlin syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Turcot syndrome, and Cowden syndrome are believed to cause spinal cancer.

Symptoms of Spinal Cancer

It’s important to detect spinal cancer early if possible, so know 

  • Paralysis - It's the inability to move any part of the body. You'll be able to move your eyes, but there's no movement below the neck.
  • Pain - The pain is a sharp or shooting sensation that may radiate down one or more limbs, usually from the lower back or buttock area, and is accompanied by bruising or bleeding in nearby tissue.
  • Swelling - A large tumor in the spinal canal or behind the last rib might cause a tumor to press on a nerve root. Either nerve roots are pressed on, or there's a mass of tumors on both roots.
  • Spinal fluid collection - Spinal fluid won't show up in a routine endoscopic exam. It's usually clear but could turn cloudy if it doesn't drain well from an area with a spinal tumor.
  • Loss of bladder control - It's called a voiding dysfunction, and it is not controlled. Some people have a cramp that can't be relieved by going to the bathroom.

Dangers of Spinal Cancer

Because it affects the spinal cord, spinal cancer may cause damage to the central nervous system, paralysis, or even death. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better the chances of recovery. Treatment depends on various factors, such as where the tumor is located and how advanced it is. Treatment options include: 

  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is the use of chemicals to eliminate cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses agents to attack cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation therapy.
  • Radiation Therapy - Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high-energy rays to destroy cancerous cells. It is especially effective if cancer hasn't spread to other body parts.
  • Surgery - Surgery can be used for removal of cancer cells from spinal columns, reducing the symptoms of spinal cancer, or to reduce the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. 
  • Targeted Therapy - Targeted therapy includes the introduction of monoclonal antibodies, which can stop the formation of new angiogenesis, which are the blood vessels that a tumor needs to grow.