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Home >> Specialities >> Neurosciences >> Spine Surgery >> Spine Tumours

Spine Tumours

These refer to all the cancerous/non-cancerous growths that develop on any part of the spinal column, owing to uncontrolled cell growth. Tumours that develop within the spinal cord are commonly referred to as intramedullary tumours, whereas, those that develop on the outer side of the spinal cord are referred to as intradural-extramedullary tumours. Spinal tumours can be malignant or benign. The likelihood of a person developing a malignant spinal tumour in his/her lifetime is less than 1 per cent.

What causes Spinal Tumours?
Spinal Tumours tend to develop when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells & tissues in and around the spine. This is believed to be caused by abnormal DNA mutations that compel the cells to grow at a much faster pace. These genetic changes may be hereditary or a result of an external factor. These include:

  • Exposure to toxic chemicals 
  • Certain inherited syndromes like neurofibromatosis 2 and von Hippel-Lindau disease

Types of Spinal Tumours
Spinal Tumours are broadly classified into three types. These are:

  • Extradural Tumours - Also known as epidural tumours, these develop inside the spinal column
  • Intradural Tumours - These develop inside the dura and may sometimes involve the spine, too
  • Intramedullary Tumours - These are intradural tumours that develop within the spine. 

What are the symptoms of Spinal Tumours? 
Patients with Spinal Tumours may experience varied symptoms, that differ based on factors like the type of tumour, its grade, and the area of the spine that is involved. Common symptoms that can be an indication of a Spinal Tumour are:

  • Extreme and persistent back pain 
  • Development of a mass or lump on the back 
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain and changing temperature
  • Unexplained loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Loss of balance 
  • Back pain that aggravates at night 
  • Loss of sensation in the limbs 
  • Muscle weakness

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