How does cancer cause spinal cord compression?
Spinal cord compression occurs most often when cancer spreads to the spinal cord via the bloodstream from other regions of the body, but may also occur when a tumor extends locally. Nerves that exit the spinal cord control motor function (movement), sensation, and in certain regions, bowel and bladder function.
What is spinal cord metastasis?
One of the most common and dangerous complications of any cancer is spinal cord metastases, the spreading of cancer cells from elsewhere in the body to the spinal cord. In order to better understand this condition one must first have knowledge about the structures surrounding the spinal cord.
What is spinal cord compression called?
Spinal cord compression—also called cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM)— is caused by any condition that puts pressure on the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves running down the middle of the back.
How long can you live with spinal cord compression?
The life expectancy of most MSCC patients is quite short, with reported median survival of only a few months. However, about one third of the MSCC patients have a better survival prognosis and live long enough to develop a recurrence of MSCC within the initially treated region of the spinal cord.
What types of cancers metastasize to the spine?
Cancers that commonly metastasize to the spine include lung, breast, prostate, melanoma, kidney, and thyroid cancers.
How is spinal metastasis diagnosed?
Imaging tests: Tests may include MRIs, CT scans and X-rays. MRIs help view your spinal cord and nerves and the surrounding spine (bony and soft tissue). CT scans also help view problems within bones.
Is spinal cord compression the same as myelopathy?
Myelopathy is the term used to describe the consequences of spinal cord compression. It characteristically occurs due to spinal cord compression in the neck (the cervical spine), although can occur more uncommonly in the thoracic spine (the portion of the spine within the rib cage).
Is cauda equina the same as spinal cord compression?
Spinal cord compression and Cauda Equina Syndrome have similar symptoms, including back pain and weakness or paralysis of the lower limbs. This means the relatively rare Cauda Equina Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as spinal cord compression, resulting in the right treatment often not being given in time.
Is spinal cord compression life threatening?
Without treatment, spinal cord compression can cause damage to the spinal nerves, which can result in loss of bladder or bowel control or paralysis. If you experience sudden inability to control your bladder or bowels, or if you have severe weakness or numbness, you should seek medical care immediately.
Can you recover from spinal cord compression?
Your doctor might not be able to give you a prognosis right away. Recovery, if it occurs, usually relates to the severity and level of the injury. The fastest rate of recovery is often seen in the first six months, but some people make small improvements for up to 1 to 2 years.