Spinal Tumor: What Is It And What Are Its Types?

Spinal tumors are very common in middle-aged and senior people. They can be cancerous or noncancerous. Cancerous tumors can endanger your life, so whenever you see some symptoms, you must visit a physician. With proper treatment and care, tumors can be removed completely. The article talks about what is a spinal tumor and its types.

What is a spinal tumor?

A spinal tumor is an abnormal growth of tissues around or inside your spinal cord and spinal column. A spinal tumor can grow very fast, affecting your other organs. It can cause weakness, neurological disease, and even paralysis. So, if you do not treat it immediately, it can be life-threatening.

What are the major types of spinal tumors?

There are two major types of spinal tumors that cause pain,

  1. Primary tumor
  2. Secondary tumor/ Metastatic tumor

Primary tumor

This type of tumor grows in our spinal column. The spinal disc, bones, nerves are some of the most common areas of primary tumor growth. These tumors are usually benign, which means they do not cause cancer. Mostly, it can be seen in the young generation. Hemangiomas are one of the most common primary spinal tumors, which are noncancerous. But tumors like myeloma and osteosarcomas are primary but malignant.

Secondary tumor

These are also called metastatic tumors. It spreads to our spine from some other cancer-affected body parts. These tumors are very common, and they can spread really fast to all other parts of your body. Usually, you get secondary spinal tumors from the prostate, lungs, or breast cancer. The affected cells spread to your spine and infect the core.

You can also classify spinal tumors by their location on our spinal cord. Here, we have three types;

  1. Extradural tumor
  2. Intradural-Extramedullary tumor
  3. Intramedullary tumor

Extradural tumor

The outer layer of the spinal cord is called Dura. So, when a tumor is formed on the outside layer of your spine, it is called an Extradural tumor. It is also called an Epidural tumor. These are usually metastatic in nature and are a result of spreading body cancer.

Intradural-Extramedullary tumor

Intradural-Extramedullary tumor forms under the Dura, the outside layer of a spinal cord. But they usually stay outside the spinal cord and are benign in nature. These tumors also have a very slow growth rate. You can feel pain, numbness, and weakness around the spinal area due to this kind of tumor.

Intradural-Extramedullary tumors also have two common types;

  1. Meningiomas
  2. Nerve sheath tumors

These tumors usually grow around the membranes of our spinal cord. They affect middle and aged women more than men.

Nerve sheath tumors

These tumors form from our nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord. The symptoms are very hard to detect for nerve sheath tumors. Only after a few years, you may feel some neurological problems.

Intramedullary tumor

These tumors grow inside our spine. Cells that provide us support and insulation for our nerves usually trigger them. The cervical spine is the most common area of Intramedullary tumor formation. They are benign in nature, and performing surgery on them for removal can be difficult. Ependymomas and Astrocytomas are some of the most common Intramedullary tumors.

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What are the causes of spinal tumors?

The exact causes of a spinal tumor are yet to be discovered. Many factors can trigger the formation of a tumor. Doctors mainly stress the role of genes on tumor formation. Other than that, your medical history, your environment, your lifestyle can also be the cause. Sometimes, different health conditions also trigger spinal tumor formation.

What are the symptoms of a spinal tumor?

When a spinal tumor grows, they cause different symptoms of discomfort. It can affect your spine, blood vessels, nerves, bones, and spinal muscles. Here are some of the symptoms of a spinal tumor;

  • You will feel pain around the spine
  • You will suffer from severe back pain, which can radiate to your other body parts
  • Loss of sensitivity to cold or heat
  • A problem in bladder and bowel function
  • Uneasiness in walking
  • Tripping or falling
  • Disturbed sleep due to back pain
  • Weakness in your legs and muscles
  • Loss of sensation
  • Neurological issues
  • Paralysis

If you see gradual progress in all these symptoms, you must visit a doctor. Mere back pain is not a thing to worry about, but when you feel weakness and all other signs, book an appointment with the best doctor and get yourself checked.

Can we prevent spinal cord tumors?

Anyone can have a spinal tumor. There is no specific reason that triggers tumor formation so, no change in lifestyle can actually effectively work as preventive measures against a tumor.


If you have a spinal tumor, do not stress out, this is very common these days. With the help of technologically advanced instruments and treatments, it can be cured from the root. Even if you have a malignant tumor, certified doctors can remove it without damaging your spinal cord. So, visit the best clinic and get yourself treated.

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