How is metastatic spinal cord compression treated?
The definitive treatment options for a patient presenting with MSCC are surgery, radiotherapy or symptom control (Fig 1). Those patients who have had no motor function for over 48 hours are unlikely to recover any useful function following treatment.
What causes metastatic spinal cord compression?
Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) happens when a cancerous tumour damages or presses on the nerves in the spinal cord. These nerves send messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Any damage can interrupt these messages.
When Is spinal cord compression an emergency?
Spinal cord compression or cauda equina syndrome (compression of nerve bundle in lower spine) is a medical emergency. Call your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room if you have: Sudden loss of bowel or bladder control. Severe or increasing numbness between your legs, inner thighs, or back of your legs.
Is surgery necessary for spinal cord compression?
Many cases of spinal cord compression do require surgery, but in mild cases, your healthcare provider may recommend non-surgical therapies to decrease pain and improve your quality of life, such as medication and physical therapy.
Is spinal cord compression life threatening?
The tumor may put pressure on the cord, causing compression. Spinal tumors potentially can cause paralysis and neurological problems. Sometimes, these growths are life-threatening and can lead to permanent disability.
Who is at risk of spinal cord compression?
Who is at risk? Around 3 to 5 in 100 people (3 to 5%) with cancer develop spinal cord compression. Almost any type of cancer can spread to the spine.
How long can you live with metastatic cancer in your spine?
Median survival of patients with spinal metastatic disease is 10 months. Spinal metastasis is one of the leading causes of morbidity in cancer patients. It causes pain, fracture, mechanical instability, or neurological deficits such as paralysis and/or bowel and bladder dysfunction.
What happens when cancer metastasizes to the spine?
Metastatic spinal tumors form when cancer spreads from another area in the body to the spine. Spinal metastases can cause pain and impair the functioning of your nervous system. Some people have no symptoms. Treatment options depend on the location, size and type of metastatic spinal tumor.
Does spinal cord compression always require surgery?
What is severe spinal compression?
Spinal cord compression occurs when a mass places pressure on the cord. A mass can include a tumor or bone fragment. Compression can develop anywhere along the spinal cord from the neck to the lower spine.
Is metastatic spine cancer curable?
Spinal metastasis is a result of a cancer that has spread, so treating the spinal tumor itself will not cure the cancer. However, there are many treatments available to shrink the tumor or slow or stop its growth, relieve pain or neurological symptoms caused by the tumor, and maintain the stability of the spine.
What is the most common early symptom of spinal cord compression?
These are common symptoms: Pain and stiffness in the neck, back, or lower back. Burning pain that spreads to the arms, buttocks, or down into the legs (sciatica) Numbness, cramping, or weakness in the arms, hands, or legs.
Can spinal cord compression be cured?
Spinal cord compression can occur anywhere in the spine, including in the neck (cervical spine) and the torso (thoracic spine). Symptoms of spinal cord compression may develop suddenly or gradually. The condition is treatable, and treatment can include supportive therapies, medication, and surgery.
What happens when cancer spreads to the spinal cord?
When cancer spreads to the bones of the spine, it can press on the spinal cord. This can cause nerve damage that may lead to paralysis if not treated right away. As too much bone dissolves, calcium is released into the blood. This can lead to problems caused by high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia).