A spinal tumor is located within the spinal column near the spinal cord. These tumors can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, losing sense of where you are in space, or trouble walking. Spinal tumors are typically diagnosed using MRI. A few examples of spinal tumors are ependymoma, Schwannoma, meningioma, astrocytoma, osteosarcoma, or hemangioblastoma, among others.
Treatment options may include waiting and watching (observation), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these. If observation is recommended, follow up scans are done routinely to ensure the tumor is not growing or progressing. Surgery involves removing the tumor. It is preferred that the whole tumor is removed, however sometimes this isn’t possible. If the tumor is not able to be removed completely, the surgeon will remove as much of the tumor as they can without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. Neuromonitoring can be used during surgery to help monitor for any neurological changes that may be a result of the surgery. If only part of the tumor is removed, radiation or chemotherapy may be used after surgery.