A spinal tumor is a mass or growth of cells within or near the spinal cord. The tumor – whether malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous) – can affect nerves located nearby, resulting in pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis. Even benign tumors of the spinal cord can result in death or permanent disability.

Symptoms of spinal cord tumors vary depending on the location of the tumor and may include back pain, loss of sensation or muscle weakness, difficulty walking, decreased sensitivity to pain, bowel or bladder dysfunction and/or paralysis. While most back pain is not indicative of a spinal cord tumor, it is important to see a doctor if the pain is persistent and progressive, unrelated to activity, worsens at night, and/or you have a history of cancer and develop new back pain.

Doctors may perform a variety of tests to confirm diagnosis of a spinal cord tumor, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), or biopsy. Once confirmed, treatment for spinal cord tumors includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and prescription medications to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Resource: Mayo Clinic

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