Tumors of the spinal cord, due to its hard to access locations, poses a major threat to life. And as the tumor grows, it affects the spinal cord, gradually. Depending on the location and the type of tumor, the severity may vary from person to person. The usual symptoms include back pain, loss of sensation especially in legs and arms, difficulty in walking, decrease in body immunity and sensitivity to pain, increase in heat and cold sensitivity, loss of bowel movement control, muscle weakness and paralysis of limbs in extreme cases. Back pain is the early and the foremost symptom in both cancerous and noncancerous tumors.
Treatment for spinal tumors remains a challenge in India, due to the reason that only limited technology is available, and also the fact that the spine is sensitive. While surgery is the treatment of choice for such tumors and the prognosis is excellent. Patients show signs of recovery very soon and are able to get back to their normal life quite effectively. With the advanced technology that is available and the advent of latest cyberknife radiation surgery, treating such complicated tumors have become completely safe and highly effective.
Spinal Tumor Types
It is the growth of tumour that develops within the bones of spine. It can be Benign or malignant. There are three common types of tumors that may affect the spinal cord.
- Intra-medullary Tumors – It develops in cells that are present within the spinal cord. Examples are Astrocytoma and Ependymoma.
- Extra-medullary Tumors – It develops within the supporting network of cells that are around the spinal cord. This type of tumor affects the spinal cord function. Examples are Meningiomas, Schwannomas, Neurofibromas.
- Vertebral Column Tumors include:
Primary Tumors – It occurs in the vertebral column and develops either from the bone or disc of spine. Osteogenic Sarcoma is the bone tumour which comes under this category. These are very rare and grow slowly and typically occur from the age group 21-50.
Metastatic Tumors – This Tumor spread from one area to another area of the body. The pain is worse and is accompanied by other signs of serious illness such as weight loss, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
The growth of any kind of spinal tumor can lead to pain, neurological problems and sometimes, it can be life-threatening and can even cause permanent disability. In women, spinal tumor spread from cancer cells that originate from breasts or lungs whereas in, in case of Men, it spreads from tumor cells that originate from lungs or prostate.
What Are The symptoms?
As the tumor grows, it affects the spinal cord, gradually. Depending on the location and the type of tumor, the severity may vary from person to person. The usual symptoms include back pain, loss of sensation especially in legs and arms, difficulty in walking, decrease in body immunity and sensitivity to pain, increase in heat and cold sensitivity, loss of bowel movement control and muscle weakness. Back pain is the early and the foremost symptom in both cancerous and noncancerous tumors.
Why CyberKnife is Preferred Over Other Methods of Treatment?
Though many other treatment methods may be available for treating spinal tumors but due to the advantage of being totally non-invasive and eliminates the requirement of any kind of anesthetics, cyberknife is a very useful tool saving the patient’s time and helping in better and quicker recovery. Cyberknife radiation surgery is a form of radio surgery that uses precisely targeted radiation to destroy tumors. This system is non-invasive and prevents any kind of blood loss eliminating the need for anesthesia.
Cyberknife radiosurgery is typically not useful in intramedullary tumors (the first type mentioned above) as these are located inside the spinal cord. For extramedullary tumor, Cyberknife is a good option for small tumors that are not causing any compression of the spinal cord, including small residual tumors after surgery. Vertebral column tumors, especially cancer deposits can be successfully treated with Cyberknife unless they are very big, very numerous, or cause spinal cord compression or spinal column instability.
The cyberknife system is unique designed robotic system that delivers high-precision surgical procedures and is flexible in producing radiations is one of the best options for treatment of spinal tumor.
(Author: Dr Aditya Gupta Director, Neurosurgery and Cyberknife Centre, Agrim institute for neuro sciences, Artemis Hospital)
Spinal Tumor Treatment in Miami, FL
Unlike conventional radiation therapy, during which low doses of radiation are delivered over several weeks, the CyberKnife can treat a tumor in one to five days by delivering a high dose of radiation with extreme pinpoint accuracy.
CyberKnife is used successfully to treat lesions in people who are not candidates for surgery or for those that chose not to have open surgery.
Spinal tumors present a treatment challenge because the spinal cord can receive only limited amounts of radiation before being damaged. Sometimes, doctors are limited because the spinal cord has already received the maximum dose. CyberKnife can be the best treatment option in these cases.
The CyberKnife treatment is completely pain free. Patients dress comfortably in their own clothes and can bring music to listen to during the treatment.
Nothing will be required of the patient during the treatment, except to relax and lie as still as possible. In fact, patients often sleep through the treatment.
Keep in mind that the tumor will not suddenly disappear. In fact, it could take several weeks or longer to determine the effectiveness of the CyberKnife treatment.
Response to treatment varies from patient to patient. Clinical experience has shown that most patients respond very well to CyberKnife treatments.
If you have been diagnosed with a spinal tumor you owe it to yourself to contact us to see if you might be a candidate for non-invasive CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery. Call CyberKnife Miami at (800) 204-0455 today.