Brain and Spinal Tumors


A tumor is a group of abnormal cells, and when they appear in the brain it is called a brain tumor.

Spinal tumors are growths of cells that surround the spinal cord. Spinal tumors usually cause symptoms over large portions of the body. Tumors outside of the spinal cord may grow for a long time before causing nerve damage.

Brain Tumor Symptoms

Some tumors may not cause symptoms until they are very large. Brain tumors can lead to a rapid decline in the patient’s overall health. The severity of symptoms depends on the tumor’s location, size, how far it has spread and how swollen it is. The most common symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Changes in mental functions
  • Weakness in isolated parts of the body

Other symptoms of brain tumors may include:

  • Changes in alertness
  • Changes in hearing, taste, touch or smell
  • Clumsiness, confusion or memory loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty reading or writing
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Eye abnormalities
  • Hand tremors
  • No control over bladder or bowels
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm or leg
  • Personality, behavioral, mood or emotional changes

Treatment for Brain Tumors

Treatment for brain tumors can involve surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Brain tumors are best treated by involving a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist or neuro-oncologist.

Symptoms of Spinal Tumors

The symptoms of spinal tumors depend on the patient’s general health, location of the tumor and type of tumor. Metastatic tumors, that have spread to the spine from other areas of the body, usually progress quickly. Tumors that originate on the spine can progress quickly or slowly, between weeks and years, and can also become metastatic.spinal_tumor

Symptoms of spinal tumors can include:

  • Abnormal, or loss of, sensation in the legs
  • Progressive back pain
  • Uncomfortable cooling sensation of the legs, fingers and hands
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Muscle contractions (spasms)
  • Muscle function loss
  • Progressive weakness

Treatment of Spinal Tumors

Treatment for spinal tumors should be sought immediately. Permanent injury can result due to a lack of immediate treatment. Spinal tumor treatments include:

  • Corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Spine surgery
  • Radiation therapy (chemotherapy)