Spine cancers refer to abnormal cell growth on the vertebrae of the spine or within the spinal canal; they can be primary or secondary in nature. Primary spinal cancers develop within the spinal column while secondary spinal cancers are metastatic cancers that have spread from some other location such as the lungs, breast, colon, kidneys or prostate.
Whether the abnormal growth is malignant or non-malignant, any growth on the vertebrae or the spinal column can lead to disability and even death. While treatment of non-malignant tumors can be done with minimal surgeries, malignant growths require more intensive therapy. A multi-disciplinary approach is usually needed for spinal cancers and can involve surgery in conjunction with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. In some cases, stereotactic radiosurgery or hormone therapy might also be included along with the other treatment modalities.
The treatment plan for cancers of the spine is based on the type, size and location of the growth. Treatment is also dependent upon the grade and stage of the cancerous growth. Other than this, the age and health of the patient are also taken into consideration.
While the goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer completely, it can sometimes result in damage to the spinal cord or surrounding nerves. The treatment plan is made very carefully, taking above-mentioned factors into consideration. Here are some of the treatment options:
Surgery – This is usually the treatment of choice and involves an acceptable low risk of spinal cord or nerve damage. However, with the evolution of newer technologies and techniques such as laser surgery or microsurgery (with high-powered microscopes), the risk of nerve damage has now become nominal. Other forms of surgery employ the use of high-frequency sound waves to break up abnormal growths. However, in some cases, it’s difficult to remove the whole growth; in such cases, radiation and/or chemotherapy are involved.
Radiotherapy – Radiation is used to treat inoperable growths or the remnant cells left behind after surgery. To minimize the effects of radiation on normal tissue, sophisticated techniques like 3D-conformal radiation therapy is employed.
Chemotherapy – This is a standard form of treatment for many types of cancerous growths. Cytotoxic medications are used to destroy cancerous cells, but it does have uncomfortable side-effects such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss and increased risk of infection. Your doctor will adjust the dosage accordingly. Chemotherapy is sometimes used in conjunction with surgery or with radiation.
Corticosteroids can also be used simultaneously to reduce the inflammatory effects of the treatment regime. Do check with the Sita Bhateja Specialty hospital located in Bangalore for specialized treatment by its team of highly-experienced doctors with access to the latest technologies in cancer surgery of the spine. Find more details here: http://www.sbshospital.com/