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WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR METASTATIC SPINAL TUMOR?

Spine tumor treatment
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Spinal tumor refers to the abnormal growth of tissue in the spinal cord. Tumors in spine may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A tumor can grow in a bone and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the spine or even other parts like lungs or breasts. Sometimes a tumor can spread to the spine from other areas like kidney, lung, prostate or breast.

Treatment of metastatic tumors must consider the following:

  • Number of spinal tumors
  • Type of cancer
  • Current treatment of cancer
  • Location of tumor
  • Quality of life of patient
  • Life expectancy
  • General condition of patient as per conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and anemia.
  • Ultimately the preference of the patient and issues like primary cancer care
  • Spine tumor treatment cost in India

GOALS of treatment:

  • Palliative care: aiming to optimize quality of life of patient and to minimize disability and pain. This includes, pain relief, fracture prevention, preserving neurological function, correcting instability of spine and enhancing general condition of patient like ability to walk/ move.
  • Treating cancer: Aim is to support ongoing cancer treatment which is created to bring cancer into remission or to prolong life of patient.
  • Shrink or debulk spinal tumor- this is done to decrease the burden of tumor.

It is a fact that early diagnosis and treatment of spinal tumor produces better outcome. If a cancer patient experiences fresh symptoms of back pain, he should   go in for immediate medical care. Treatment of metastatic spinal tumor is the responsibility of a multi-disciplinary team consisting of radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, physiatrists and diagnostic radiologists.

SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT:

  • Pain medication is the first step. Such medication includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and narcotics for pain management.
  • Other medications include Corticosteroids (for treating fluid build –up and inflammation around the spinal cord) and bisphosphonates and RANKL inhibitors (to make the bones strong and lower the chance of fracture of vertebrae).
  • Braces: for the sake of symptom relief, braces may be used when there is pain due to spinal instability. They are used usually with alternative types of treatment.

RADIATION THERAPY:

 This has proved to be effective to shrink tumors and is the popular choice for treating pain linked to metastatic spine tumors. Radiation of high intensity applied on tumor can cause it to shrink, relive pressure on roots of nerves or/ and spinal cord. As per studies, this therapy has reduced pain by 70% rate of success. For spinal tumors, radiation is administered externally through a special machine. Stereotactic radiation targets the tumor, thus not affecting healthy cells.

SURGERY:

Surgical methods are used to treat spinal tumor either by removing tumor or lowering symptoms associated with the tumor. There are many kinds of surgery, but in general, they are of two types:

  • Minimally invasive surgery: this surgery involves very small incisions.
  • Open surgery: this is a more complicated surgery involving larger incisions.

Minimally invasive procedures are the usual norm but open surgeries are performed occasionally. Minimally invasive surgery may be done on an out-patient basis and involves shorter recovery time. Spine tumor surgery cost in India is less when common procedures are used.

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