About Spinal Cancer
Spinal cancers are masses of abnormal cells that form malignant tumors in the spinal cord and vertebrae. It’s exceptionally rare for cancerous tumors to originate on the spinal cord. Most are metastatic or secondary cancers that have spread to the area.
Where is Spinal Cancer Located?
The spinal cord connects to the brain and has bundles of long nerve fibres that send signals which control the body. Spine tumors will typically differ from children cancer patients to adult cancer patients. They originate in different areas, arise from other cell types, and may require alternative treatments. In both cases, the cancer never spreads from those areas of tissue.
Are There Different Types of Spinal Cancer?
There are several different types of spinal cancer, including:
- Gliomas – Tumors that start in glial cells.
- Astrocytomas – Tumors that grow in a specific type of glial cell called astrocytes.
- Oligodendrogliomas – Tumors that begin in brain glial cells called oligodendrocytes.
- Ependymomas – Tumors in ependymal cells that line the ventricles.
- Meningiomas – Cancer that starts in the layer of tissue (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- Medulloblastomas – Cancer that originates in the neuroectodermal cells of the cerebellum.
Spinal Cancer Statistics
Less than 1% of all people will develop a type of spinal cancer, coupled with the formation of metastatic spinal tumors. Based on clinical research and trials, the American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 24,000 Americans are diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the spinal cord or brain.
Causes and Risk Factors
Unlike other forms of cancer, metastatic tumors in the spinal canal are rarely caused or worsened by a person’s actions or behaviour. Risk factors include:
- Radiation exposure – Typically by radiation therapy meant to treat another form of cancer.
- Family history – Although rare, spinal cancer can run in familial genetic pools.
- Von Hippel-Lindau Disease – People with this disease are predisposed to developing both benign and malignant tumors.
- Syndromes – Li-fraumeni syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, Turcot syndrome, and Cowden syndrome increase the risk of tumors emerging on the spine and vertebrae.
Early Detection of Cancer Cells, Diagnosis, and Staging
Signs and Symptoms of Small Spinal Cancer
Symptoms of both brain and spinal cancer typically revolve around intracranial pressure. Though they can vary by patient, signs and symptoms you should be aware of include:
- Balance problems
- Behavioral change
- Blurred vision
- Personality change
The Different Stages of Spinal Cancer
Since tumors on the spinal cord never spread, they don’t share the staging of other cancers. Instead, there are factors that medical oncologists will consider when treating the cancer, including:
- Patient’s age
- How much of an impact the tumor has on bodily activity, brain function, and quality of life
- Tumor type
- Tumor grade
- Whether the tumor cells have genetic mutations
- Location of tumor and size of tumor, as demonstrated by the CT scan
Alternative / Natural Spinal Cancer Treatment Options
Today, the forefront of cancer treatment research is pointing away from traditional treatment methods to alternative methodologies. As opposed to relying on chemotherapy, doses of radiation, or even minimally invasive surgery, our oncologists provide non-surgical treatment plans to prevent further damage to the body. At Immunity Therapy Center, we treat our patients with a carefully designed plan of alternative treatments that are intended to strengthen the immune system and aid the body in its fight against these relentless cancer cells. Unlike chemo, these treatments do not destroy the body.
Dr. Bautista starts by having a consultation with patients. He conducts a rigorous analysis and then creates a custom treatment plan based on your type of cancer, signs, symptoms, and more. From there, patients are assigned a doctor that meets with them daily to monitor the efficacy of the treatment and adjust processes accordingly to ensure their quality of life is still a priority, even when fighting tumor cells.
At ITC, our desire is to give our patients a safe and natural way for them to effectively ward off cancer. If you or someone you love has spinal cancer, we encourage you to reach out and schedule a consultation with the doctor.
Together, we can beat it.
- Cancer.org. Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-adults/detection-diagnosis-staging/staging.html
- Cancer.net. Brain Tumor. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/statistics
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Spinal Tumors. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Spinal-Tumors
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