There are two basic varieties of cancers affecting the spine. The primary tumors arising from the bone, nerves, spinal cord, and the secondary/metastatic tumors spread to the spine from other cancers in the body, such as breast, lung, brain, kidney, and prostate cancers. The metastatic variant is the most common and accounts for a vast majority of spinal tumors. Most of these tumors are in the vertebral body and can cause various degrees of spinal cord compression. Current advances in radiotherapy can manage large numbers of these tumors without surgical intervention. However, pathological fractures in cancerous vertebrae may require surgical treatment to stabilize the bone and decompress the spinal cord. Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) is a particular medical emergency resulting from sudden paralysis onset due to soft tissue cancerous lesions compressing the spinal cord and requiring emergent surgical decompression. A multidisciplinary team-based approach involving spine surgeons, cancer surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and rehabilitation specialists is a must for proper evaluation and treatment of these lesions.
Primary tumours are also not so uncommon. There are two types one is benign and other is malignant variety. Benign tumours are not life threatning but proper medical care is needed for that. Malignant tumours warrant early diagnosis and intervention.
Common treatment modalities are:
- Braces, rest, pain relief, anti-resorptive medicines
- Spine Stabilization + vertebral augmentation
- Cement augmentation with Kyphoplasty/ Vertebroplasty.