Causes, symptoms, manifestation, and treatment of cancer of the spine
The first symptoms that indicate cancer of the spine
A spinal tumor is a pathological process in which there is proliferation of tumor cells.
They can be localized in cartilage, bones or connective tissue. The disease is accompanied by pain, dysfunction of the spinal cord. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on the degree of neglect of the disease.
The term «cancer» means the uncontrolled growth of alien to the body cells, victims of genetic modification under the influence of certain factors.
They grow quickly, can penetrate into surrounding organs (metastasize). The resulting intoxication, and signs of exhaustion.
Bone cancer of the spine can be primary and secondary. The latter develops as a result of penetration into the departments of metastases from other organs affected by the neoplastic process.
This happens through the flow of lymph or blood during the epidural venous plexus. The primary form pathology develops as an independent disease. Most often affects the vertebrae directly.
Some types of cancerous tumors of the spine hurt the substance of the spinal cord or its membranes.
Causes and risk factors
To reliably determine the cause of the disease very frequently fails. There are such factors that can trigger the growth of cancer cells:
- genetic predisposition;
- AIDS – the trigger becomes the depletion of the human immune system;
It is worth noting that these States can only increase the chances of occurrence of disease, but not talking about the required development.
The most common causes of spinal tumors are:
- spinal injury in the anamnesis, in which the violation occurred of the blood supply;
- a weakened immune system;
- viral diseases (papilloma, Epstein-Barr);
- and ionizing radiation;
- violation of metabolic processes in the body;
- the intake of carcinogens along with food and air in the body;
- some parasitic diseases;
- permanent effect on the body vibration (when performing certain work).
Classification of tumours
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There are several signs, depending on which cancer is divided into several types. Given its location, it can be:
- Extradurally. Localized outside the sheath of the spinal cord. This form is most often metastasizes to other organs.
- Intramurally. Affects the Dura of the spinal cord leads to compression (pinching). Manifests as meningiomas or neurofibromas.
- Intramedullary. Characterized by the growth of cancer cells in the substance of the spinal cord that leads to the loss of its main functions. Usually, this astrocytoma or glioma.
Depending on the locations and type of abnormal cells, a tumor could be:
- Chondrosarcoma. This species is diagnosed most frequently, about 80% of cases. Affects the thoracic spine.
- Ewing’s sarcoma – develops in children. Striking the coccyx and sacrum.
- Chondroma. Common among adults is rare. Leads to compression of the spinal cord. If untreated, transforms into a chondrosarcoma.
- Osteosarcoma. Affects the Sacro-lumbar spine. This type is rare.
- Multiple myeloma. Can only be a primary disease, in addition to the spine, strikes and other bones.
- Solitary plasmacytoma. This form of cancer is a variant of myeloma, however, gives a better chance for recovery. Affects only the vertebrae.
- Giant cell tumors. Localized in the body of the vertebrae, are characterized by rapid growth. Occur in people of middle age.
- The osteoid osteoma. Is more often seen in adolescents and children. Frequent strikes back vertebrae and this interferes with the functions of the spinal cord.
Benign and malignant tumors of the spine are divided into several types.
- greaseopera: osteoblastoclastoma, osteoma;
- krestomania: osteoblastoma, osteoma;
- vascular: hemangioma;
- other: neurilemmoma, chondroma, neurofibroma.
Tumors of a malignant nature:
- krestomania: osteoid osteoma, osteosarcoma;
- greaseopera: malignant osteoblastoclastoma, chondrosarcoma;
- bone marrow: reticulosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma.
Given the type of fabric which is drawn into pathological process cancer of the spine can be:
- exophytic atypical cells spread to the bones of the spine, nerves, soft tissue.
- endophytic: the tumor is localized only in the bone structure of the vertebra.
After analyzing the tumor size and the presence or absence of metastasis, it is possible to define 4 degrees cancer in the spine:
- Stage 1 – tumour is small in size, is localized exclusively in the spinal cord, metastases are absent.
- Stage 2 – the cancer cells spread to the soft tissues of the spine, metastasis is not observed;
- Stage 3 – the tumor reaches a somewhat larger size, it is possible to detect an isolated metastasis to surrounding organs;
- Degree 4 – the tumor is large, distant metastasis can affect any part of the body, there is intoxication.
When and how symptoms appear?
From the beginning of disease until the first signs of cancer of the spine can take a long time.
Common symptoms of spinal tumors include the depletion of the body in the form of weakness and weight loss, toxicity due to the effect of the decay products of the tumor, symptoms of lesions of other organs.
Typical symptoms is the presence of pain in the place of localization of pathological process, the intensity depends on the size of the tumor.
When compressed, the nerve endings of the spinal cord is a violation of sensitivity (paresthesia). If there is compression of the motor root, and the patient feels weakness in the limbs.
Symptoms vary depending on which departments are involved in the pathological process:
- If the tumor is localized in the cervical vertebrae, there is pain in upper back radiating to arms, shoulders. The skin of the upper limbs sometimes numb, noted their weakness.
- With the defeat of the thoracic numbness skin and severe pain in the back and chest, which become more intense in the supine position.
- If the tumor is in the lumbar spine, pain occurs in the areas of its projections, it becomes stronger when walking, may radiate into the legs. The skin of the lower extremities periodically numb. When the tumor is of large size there is a violation of urination and defecation. It may also be a violation of the gait.
To confirm the presence of tumors of the spine, you will undergo a number of studies.
Begin with an analysis of the patient’s complaints and visual inspection. Then assign laboratory methods to determine the level of hormones, tumor markers, enzymes.
Finally, to establish the presence of a tumor allow instrumental methods:
- MRI. Detects the presence of the tumor, its size and localization. To obtain more accurate data use of contrast substance.
- An x-ray. Allows you to define the level of destruction of bone tissue.
- CT with mielografia. It involves injecting a contrast substance in the spinal canal.
- Electroencephalogram. Determines the electrical conductivity of brain matter.
- Biopsy. By a spinal tap is taken element neoplasms. After microscopic study fails to establish the nature of the tumor.
Therapy of tumors
To start the treatment as soon as possible, as tumors of large size penetrate into many structures of the spine, which complicates the task of doctors.
It is worth noting: the operation may be complicated by the defeat of nerve endings located near the tumor.
To get rid of cancer of the spine, resort to such methods:
- Surgery: gives the ability to completely remove the tumor and isolated metastases. Effective only in the initial stages.
- Chemotherapy. Is the use of cytotoxic drugs – drugs that stop the growth of tumor. It is proved that on the spine, this method is bad, so is rarely used.
- Radiation therapy. The exposure to ionizing rays allows to remove the remaining tumors. Used after surgery.
- To inhibit the growth of cancer cells can be assigned to hormonal medication.
- To restore the body’s defenses, it is recommended to take immunomodulators.
- Symptomatic therapy is used to relieve pain and other symptoms, in the later stages can be assigned to narcotic analgesics.
How many with him?
Full recovery depends on the stage of neglect and the type of tumor.
The sooner pathology, the greater the chances for a full recovery and restore all functions. If the cancer of the spine was diagnosed at stage 3-4 and carry out the appropriate treatment, life expectancy becomes about 5 years.
To prevent the development of tumors of the spine, is to undergo annual screening tests, avoid stress, bad habits.
You also need to keep an active lifestyle, eat right, try to avoid the influence of external adverse factors.
Cancer of the spine – a serious disease which affects not only adults, but also children.
But with early diagnosis it is possible to completely get rid of.