Tumors of the spine are most frequently metastatic tumors (i.e. they come from somewhere else, through the bloodstream). These can involve the bone, lining of the spine (dura), or rarely, the nerves or spinal cord itself. Symptoms can include weakness, numbness, pain, difficulty walking, or others...diagnosis is usually made based upon MRI scans (with contrast dye injected), and treatment depends upon the type of tumor involved (lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and renal cancer often go to the spine vertebrae, whereas primary tumors (such as a meningioma, schwannoma, or neurofibroma) can involve the area around the spinal cord; finally, tumors within the spinal cord (astrocytoma, ependymoma, hemangioblastoma, and others) can occur. Since treatment depends upon the type of tumor involved, a surgical open (or CT scan-guided) biopsy can help determine diagnosis, with surgical removal or radiation as needed then administered. Some tumors can weaken the spine, and so stabilization may be needed as well (through fusion - see "Treatments & Testimonials" section) in some cases.
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