Non-operative Spinal Tumor Treatment

A coordinated approach, combining the multifaceted expertise of a pathologist, oncologist, angiographer, neuroradiologist, and spinal surgeon, is required during the patient’s treatment. Such factors as the patient’s prior treatment, the type of tumor, spinal deformity, neurologic deficit, bony involvement, and the patient’s life expectancy are all weighed prior to any course of action.

Some tumors, especially those that are aggressive in nature, may require removal, which may be partial or complete depending on the stage or the disease and the type of tumor. Other tumors may require the application of non-operative treatment such as radiation, bracing, chemotherapy, or embolization. In some cases, the tumor may require both non-operative treatment as well as surgery. Pain may be relieved through the use of analgesics (pain medication) or through direct removal or compressed nerves or stabilization of the spine.

A pain management consultant may be required to help manage severe pain. To reduce swelling that may occur around the tumor, steroids may be prescribed. Bracing may be necessary to help control pain and to provide spinal stability. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may shrink tumors. Chemotherapy treatment can be administered either intravenously or orally. To ensure that healthy cells are preserved while destroying the cancerous cells, the dose and frequency of radiation (radiotherapy) is carefully calculated.

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