Spinal Cord Tumours
A spinal cord tumour is a cancerous or non-cancerous growth that develops within the spinal cord. These tumours may develop within the nerves of the spinal cord (intramedullary tumours), inside the coverings of the spinal cord, but outside the cord itself (intradural extramedullary tumours), in the bones of the spine (extradural spinal tumours) or some cancerous tumours may spread into the bones of the spine (vertebrae) from elsewhere in the body (secondary bone cancers).
Most spinal cord cancers are secondary cancers, which arise from cancers in other organs of the body that have spread to the spinal cord. For instance, cancers of the lungs, breast, prostate, head and neck, thyroid, are a few examples of cancers that may spread to the spinal cord. Only in very few cases do the tumours originate in the spine rather than spread to the spine from somewhere else in the body.
Tumours in the spinal cord can be serious, leading to neurological disorders. In extreme cases, paralysis may also occur. Early diagnosis is important for ensuring minimum damage due to spinal cord tumours.