Spinal Cancer Causes

The causes of spinal cancer are linked to predisposed gene defects or from environmental factors. Tumor growth within the spine is often metastatic, meaning that it has spread from cancer that was already present in other areas of the body. It most commonly spreads from breast or lung cancer in women and lung or prostate cancer in men. Exposure to the radiation used in prior cancer treatments may also be one of the contributing causes of spinal cancer.

In addition to cancer that metastasizes from other areas of the body, spinal cancer is associated with some inherited conditions, including:

  • Neurofibromatosis 2 – Usually appearing during adolescence or early adulthood, this disorder is characterized by the growth of tumors on nerve tissue.
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease – This disorder involves the growth of tumors or cysts in different parts of the body, including the blood vessels in the central nervous system.

When these conditions or other causes lead to spinal cancer, symptoms can range from back pain to neurological issues like muscle weakness in the extremities, difficulty walking or coordinating movements, or loss of bladder or bowel function. If the tumor grows and increasingly puts pressure on the spinal cord, symptoms will progress and may cause permanent damage. Therefore, an individual experiencing these symptoms should consult with an experienced doctor who can provide a proper diagnosis and go over treatment options.

Tampa General Hospital’s neuro-oncologists are dedicated to the treatment and care of patients with a wide array of cancers that affect the central and peripheral nervous systems, including spinal cancer. Our team of medical professionals creates specialized treatment plans that address the individual circumstances of each patient. Treatment often involves surgical excision, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Our facility utilizes the most advanced technological options to assist in treatment, including our intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) equipment.

For a physician referral, please call (813) 844-2200 or use our PhysicianFinder tool.