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Spine tumors are tumors that arise in the spine or surrounding tissues, such as the spinal cord. These tumors usually look like lumps and can cause a variety of symptoms. Proper treatment needs to be done early to prevent the tumor from developing into malignant
Tumor is a disease that occurs when cells in certain tissues or organs of the body grow excessively and uncontrollably, thereby damaging the surrounding he althy body parts. Some tumors are benign, but some are malignant (cancerous).
Unlike cancer, benign tumors tend not to spread to other parts of the body and grow more slowly. However, if not treated early, some types of tumors can turn malignant. Tumors can also grow in any body tissue, including the spine.
There are many types of tumors that can appear on the spine, including:
- Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma
- Ependymoma and meningioma
- Schwannoma and neurofibroma
- Multiple myeloma
Causes of Spine Tumors
Until now, the cause of a person experiencing a spinal tumor is still not known for certain. However, there are several factors that are known to increase a person's risk of developing a spinal tumor, including:
- The hereditary factor
- Exposure to radiation and carcinogenic substances
- Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis
- Genetic disorders, such as neurofibromatosis 2 disease and Hippel-Lindau disease
In addition, spinal tumors also often arise due to the migration of tumor cells from other parts of the body. The process of moving tumor cells from their place of origin is called metastasis. Such tumor conditions can occur in patients with stage 4 cancer, for example in breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.
Some Symptoms of Spinal Tumor
Spine tumors in the early stages are generally asymptomatic. Symptoms of this tumor usually only appear when the tumor cells grow larger and begin to damage the spinal cord or surrounding structures, such as nerves or nerve pads.
There are several symptoms of tumors in the spine, including:
- A lump appears on the back or around the spine.
- Back pain that radiates to other parts of the body, such as the legs, thighs, or arms
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Weakness or even paralysis of limbs, such as arms and legs
- Tingling or numbness in the back
- Interference with urination or defecation
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
- Changes in the shape of the spine in the form of scoliosis
Pain due to spinal tumors can get worse when the sufferer lies down, strains, or coughs. In men, spinal tumors can also cause erectile dysfunction.
The symptoms of spinal tumors can often mimic many other diseases or medical conditions, such as pinched nerves (HNP), back or spinal cord injuries, and spinal tuberculosis.Therefore, to confirm the diagnosis, a thorough medical examination from the doctor is required.
To diagnose spinal tumors, doctors generally will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, biopsies, and tumor marker tests.
How to Overcome a Spinal Tumor
The goal of spinal tumor treatment is to remove the tumor without damaging the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. In addition, the treatment of spinal tumors is also important to prevent the spread of tumor cells to other body tissues.
The following are several treatment methods that doctors can use to treat spinal tumors:
Spine surgery is generally done to remove tumor tissue that grows in the spine. However, sometimes residual tumor cells may still be left in the spinal tissue after surgery is performed.
Therefore, surgery is usually combined with other treatment methods, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to remove residual tumor cells in the spine.
2. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is generally used to remove residual tumors that cannot be completely removed by surgery.
In addition, this therapy is also performed to treat tumors that cannot be operated on or if the surgical step is considered high risk and can cause complications, such as paralysis or numbness due to nerve damage.
Chemotherapy is one of the standard treatment methods for various types of cancer, including spinal tumors. However, chemotherapy can often cause side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, infection, and hair loss.
Physiotherapy is generally performed after the patient has recovered from surgery and has completed chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Physiotherapy can help patients to move back, improve their ability to carry out daily physical activities, and support the recovery process after spinal tumor treatment.
Back tumor is a rare disease. However, if left untreated, spinal tumors can become more difficult to treat and even increase the risk of causing permanent spinal cord damage.
Therefore, you need to be alert if you experience the symptoms of a spinal tumor that have been mentioned previously. If you feel these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor so that examination and treatment can be carried out early.