Spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue growing within or surrounding the spinal cord. Spinal tumors can be either benign or malignant. The primary tumor originates in the spine or spinal cord, and metastatic or secondary tumor results from cancer spreading from another site to the spine.
The CyberKnife system allows the specialists to use a custom-shape beam and can limit or completely avoid the exposure to the spinal cord at risk, as well as other healthy surrounding tissues.
The most common symptom of this condition would be back pain. This pain can occur while the body is at rest and may worsen during the nights.
Few other symptoms may include:
Loss of sensation or muscle weakness in the legs, arms or chest
Difficulty in walking
Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat, and cold
Loss of bowel function
Loss of bladder function
In primary spinal tumors (tumors that originate in the spine), there are no clear reasons as to what causes the cells to grow abnormally. However, in some cases, it may be due to exposure to radiation or chemicals that cause cancer. Environment changes usually play's a large role, Genetics may also play a role in a few cases.
Secondary spinal tumors are caused by cancer that may have spread to the spine from another part of the body, which is known as metastasis.
A medical examination and neurological deficits are usually the first steps to diagnosing a spinal tumor. Radiological tests are usually required for an accurate diagnosis. The tests that usually help in deterring this type of cancer for an accurate and positive diagnosis include X-ray, CAT scan / CT scan, MRI and/or Biopsy.
Some spinal tumors can be surgically removed, but if the entire tumor cannot be removed by surgery, radiation therapy may be suggested. Spinal tumors typically present a challenge during treatment because the spinal cord can tolerate only a limited amount of radiation before being damaged.
Hence the specialist may recommend the CyberKnife radiosurgery which can help in pinpointing the exact location of the spinal tumor’s in real time with the support of the X-ray images taken during treatment. This helps in precisely delivering radiation to the tumor while minimizing damage to the surrounding sensitive spinal cord tissue and other critical structures.