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Doctor insights on: Spinal Cancer Survival Rates

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What's the definition of spinal cancer and what are the symptoms?

What's the definition of spinal cancer and what are the symptoms?

Depends on location: Spinal cancer can refer to a cancer that involves the bones (vertebral bodies) or the spinal cord itself. It it involves the bones, this is usually a metastatic cancer, meaning that it came from another source and spread here (ie. From lung, breast, prostate). These have symptoms of pain. If the cancer is in the spinal cord, it usually is of glioma type. This ofen leads to weakness or numbness. ...Read more

Dr. Barry Rosen
4,351 Doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more


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Could a spinal hemanginoma be missed as cancer?

Could a spinal hemanginoma be missed as cancer?

Spinal hemangioma: Spine metastasis can sometimes be confused with spinal hemangiomas but a trained radiologist, and a MRI spine can discern between these two diagnosis. ...Read more

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Can a x ray show spinal cancer?

Can a x ray show spinal cancer?

Yes and no: The X-ray will show a mass on the bony spine, at times haze on the soft tissue on the spine and lesions eroding the spine. Al of these masses that can be seen on X-rays can be benign or malignant. Thus the X-ray will show the mass but can not prove it is cancer without a biopsy ...Read more

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How can cancer cause compression of the spinal cord?

How can cancer cause compression of the spinal cord?

By growing on or: Cancer can affect the bones of the spine leading to deformity or a fracture compressing the spinal cord or the cancer can grow about the spinal cord and enlarge placing compression like a disc herniation or spinal stenosis or even grow fron within the spinal cord leading to compression effects. ...Read more

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Does any thing come out of the spine when somebody has spinal cancer?

Spine mets: Think of the spine as a filter for cancer cells. This is not entirely correct, but this I effectively what happens for many cancers: prostate, thyroid, breast, lung and renal. These nests of cells then may grow and cause fracture, or pressure on the nerves. When treated, rarely is a cure obtainable by spine surgery. So, the whole tumor is rarely removed. Cyberknife, kyphoplasty are some minimal r. ...Read more

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What does it mean when you have 1093 cancer cells found in your spinal fluid?

What does it mean when you have 1093 cancer cells found in your spinal fluid?

Correlate: There's nothing magic about a particular number. Some people with cancer involving the brain and spinal cord surface do not shed the cancer cells into the CSF. Your pathologist can determine where the cells probably came from and guide the clinician in treatment. Depending on the type of cancer, it may still be curable or manageable for at least some more good time. ...Read more

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I am currently having an anxiety attack about spinal cancer please could you help me?

I am currently having an anxiety attack about spinal cancer please could you help me?

See your doctor: Do you have spinal cancer and are having trouble coping, or are you concerned that you might have spinal cancer? In either case, you need medical help. Please make an appointment to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. ...Read more

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My mam has cancer in her spinal fluid, I just want to know what the chances of her surviving it is?

My mam has cancer in her spinal fluid, I just want to know what the chances of her surviving it is?

Depends on type: Cancer if the spinal fluid is usually metastatic, but it can be from hollow organs, bone marrow or from the brain. Usually cancer or lymphoma can be found in csf, but brain tumors can also be seen there. Without known the type of underlying cancer your mom has, it is hard to predict outcome. Maybe you would like to reply and describe the specific cancer type. ...Read more

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What's spinal metastatic cancer?

What's spinal metastatic cancer?

Ca not from bone: Cancer from another source that settles or is metastatic to the spine. Prostate cancer breast cancer and lung cancer are a few examples of cancers that can metastasize to the spine. Most metastatic disease to distant sites occurs via the blood stream. ...Read more

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What is the average life expectancy of someone with Stage III or IV spinal cancer?

What is the average life expectancy of someone with Stage III or IV spinal cancer?

More info needed.: Most likely it's not "spinal cancer", which would be a cancer that started in the spine, but a cancer from somewhere else that has spread (metastasized) TO the spine. If so, it's still the cancer of where it started (bone or breast or prostate, etc.).

Also, stage III vs. Stage IV have different enough treatment and prognosis that they should be considered separately; worth learning this detail). ...Read more

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How do I know the difference between back pain caused by cancer or just regular spinal/ lower back soreness?

How do I know the difference between back pain caused by cancer or just regular spinal/ lower back soreness?

X ray: Back pain from cancer is due to metastatic disease. If there are no symptoms of malignancy then rare to have spread. Common lesions are lung in the male as well as prostate in the older male. Other lesions usually advanced with the primary causing symptoms. When questioned by a physician dx established by showing lytic lesions expanding vertebrae as seen on MRI. ...Read more

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Elevated lymphocytes and decreased monocytes in spinal fluid, MS ruled out, what else can cause this? Can it be a type of Cancer?

Elevated lymphocytes and decreased monocytes in spinal fluid, MS ruled out, what else can cause this? Can it be a type of Cancer?

CSF cell count: Many conditions cause changes in white blood cell count in the CSF. Normally, these are infections, especially viral infections. There are some conditions that are related to the immune system and certain cancers can cause this. Cancer normally causes a very high cell count number, however. If your cell count is low, it is not likely this is cancer. ...Read more

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Sharp lower back pain for 3 weeks now only in certain positions for few sec and very mild body tingling but tht might be after I read abot spinal cancer?

Sharp lower back pain for 3 weeks now only in certain positions for few sec and very mild body tingling but tht might be after I read abot spinal cancer?

Probably not: Please see your doctor, even though a spinal tumor is quite unlikely, unless you already have a previous cancer. It might be as simple as a pulled muscle or a ruptured disc. ...Read more

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Can spinal MRI see lungs? Or even lung cancer?

Can spinal MRI see lungs? Or even lung cancer?

Not really: Mri's are geared to see specific portions of anatomy, such as bone, soft tissue, vessels, etc. While other structures can be visualized with a spinal mri, it is inadequate to make a diagnosis. If something is suspected, any radiologist would immediately recommend another imaging study to better visualize the area or concern. ...Read more

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What to expect with brain cancer that has 35+ tumors and 3 in the spinal fluid.

What to expect with brain cancer that has 35+ tumors and 3 in the spinal fluid.

Very poor prognosis: This sounds likely widely metastasized brain tumor. It sounds as though it is end stage. There is no surgery for this. Whole brain and whole spinal radiation with or without chemotherapy is what is recommended. ...Read more

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Is breast cancer that was treated 3 years ago but just found to show up again as spinal cancer, considered terminal?

Is breast cancer that was treated 3 years ago but just found to show up again as spinal cancer, considered terminal?

Not necessarily: This would depend on where the breast cancer appeared in the spine. Most often these occur as metastases to the vertebra of the spine. These may be treated very effectively with surgery and radiation with very good local control. The status of the breast cancer in the rest of the body (ie. Are there other metastatic sites?) is the key to the overall prognosis. Also, molecular markers are important. ...Read more

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My grandfather has been told he has cancer cells in his spinal cord. He survived colon cancer as he prevented it in the early stages. Is there hope?

Travelled cancer: Is never good. Colon cancer commonly goes to the liver, lungs and sometmes bones. If the spine bones are infested, they can collapse and put pressure on the spinal cord. Actual infestation of the cord or cerebrospinal fluid is highly unlikely. Both a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist should see him in a hurry. ...Read more

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My fathers lived with AIDS for 30yrs. 2yrs ago had prostate cancer, received treatment and recently diagnosed with spinal cancer. How much time left?

My fathers lived with AIDS for 30yrs. 2yrs ago had prostate cancer, received treatment and recently diagnosed with spinal cancer. How much time left?

No telling: If this is metastatic prostate cancer to the spine, this is common and there is no way to predict his response to treatment or the duration or quality of his survival. I am glad he has you ...Read more

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I just started Forteo, osteoporosis and failed spinal fusion. Is there a greater chance of bone cancer fron PTH and MBPS interaction?

I just started Forteo, osteoporosis and failed spinal fusion. Is there a greater chance of bone cancer fron PTH and MBPS interaction?

Please define MBPS: Hi. I think Forteo is the best thing there is for osteoporosis. However, the patient needs to be adequately assessed before starting it. Patients with primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism should not receive Forteo. Patients with a history of therapeutic radiation involving the skeleton should not be treated. Paget's patient's should not be treated. If you mean MBP, no known interaction. ...Read more

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Mother had cancer cells in skull and spinal cord. After chemotherapy her pain is alleviate d and her blood count is normal. Is it a good sign?

Mother had cancer cells in skull and spinal cord. After chemotherapy her pain is alleviate d and her blood count is normal. Is it a good sign?

Likely: The chemo has very likely induced a remission, and that is certainly positive. One might hope that this is on the road to full control, and maybe permanent remission. ...Read more

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If you have an intradural, extramedullary spinal tumor and pituitary tumor that cannot be biopsied, would it be prudent to run paraneoplastic ab test or any other blood test to rule out cancer?

If you have an intradural, extramedullary spinal tumor and pituitary tumor that cannot be biopsied, would it be prudent to run paraneoplastic ab test or any other blood test to rule out cancer?

It's not for that: The vast majority of cancers don't produce paraneoplastic antibodies that show on labs. If you've been told that a tissue diagnosis cannot be obtained on either of your two tumors, please think about getting a second opinion, though it may be true. Whatever happens, you deserve to be fully educated about your illnesses. ...Read more

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What would be the cerebral spinal fluid test result for brain metastatic cancer. What value indicates its brain cancer in CSF test?

What would be the cerebral spinal fluid test result for brain metastatic cancer. What value indicates its brain cancer in CSF test?

Not the best test: CSF examination may contain malignant cells in the presence of metastatic cancer, but normal CSF does not rule out metastases to the brain. Imaging studies are more likely to be helpful. ...Read more

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Should I be concerned if my mom had breast cancer before 4 years and now now she got cancer in skull and spinal cord normal. Is it a good sign?

Should I be concerned if my mom had breast cancer before 4 years and now now she got cancer in skull and spinal cord normal. Is it a good sign?

Not a good sign: Tumor spreading to bone is not a good sign though treatment may be able to provide control for some time. Please provide support to your mother. ...Read more

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Severe spine pain when pushed on gently, 2 spots one in lower one in mid back. Could this be spinal cancer? Chronic pain, had scoliosis xray 6 m ago.

Severe spine pain when pushed on gently, 2 spots one in lower one in mid back. Could this be spinal cancer? Chronic pain, had scoliosis xray 6 m ago.

Unlikely: Bone cancer does cause spinal pain but many other causes are more likely to be the source of your pain. Bone cancer is sometimes felt as a lump and is often worse at night. X-rays can be helpful as yours did not show signs of cancer. Other tests can be done if needed. If pain is chronic, it is more likely to be mechanical pain in joints, muscles, or due to disc problems. ...Read more

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34yr niece w/ breast cancer met. To brain & now cells in spinal fluid. Is treatment viable and if so where/who is best place to contact/talk to/go. Dr say w/out treatment 2 mnth.?

34yr niece w/ breast cancer met. To brain & now cells in spinal fluid. Is treatment viable and if so where/who is best place to contact/talk to/go. Dr say w/out treatment 2 mnth.?

Poor outcome: Metastatic breast cancer is a tough diagnosis to deliver. Affects young women and more aggressive (fatal) the younger the woman. There are trials available to attempt treatment but long term survival is remote. Ask your oncologist if they are aware of any treatment trials available. Usually treatment results in a few more months but rarely years. ...Read more

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What is the life expectancy of a 54yr woman with Stage 4 Breast cancer, metastasized to bones, brain and spinal fluid? BRCA2 positive

What is the life expectancy of a 54yr woman with Stage 4 Breast cancer, metastasized to bones, brain and spinal fluid? BRCA2 positive

Mets of Breast cance: It depends on treatment so far...This is not a good prognosis. It is all about managing quality of life and options. No one knows of course, life expectancy but in my opinion quality of life is MOST important ...Read more