The discovery of a spinal tumour can be a devastating life event, but we are here to assure you that treatment is available and recovery is a very achievable goal.

Introduction to spinal tumours:

Spinal tumours occur when neoplasms are located on the spinal cord. There are different forms of spinal tumour, but it can be mainly broken down into two categories: extradural tumours and intradural neoplasms. Extradural tumours are the more commonly discovered issue.

Cancer sufferers are at greater risk of contracting an extradural tumour as these tumours tend to result from a previous spread of cancer cells.


There are a number of symptoms that can first appear in spinal tumour patients. Pain is the overriding issue, which can further manifest itself in different ways. Most common among these further manifestations is incontinence (involuntary urination) and decreased sensitivity in the buttocks.

The latter two problems generally arise from spinal cord compression by the tumour. Further potential problems are lower extremity weakness, while the condition can also be judged by numbness in the hands and legs, as well as paralysis.


Diagnosis of a spinal cord tumour is challenging as initial symptoms can often be attributed to a number of conditions. A diagnosis is usually made through MRI and bone scanning. Following diagnosis, an initial treatment will then be decided upon.


Depending on perceived severity, treatment can begin with a course of steroids (corticosteroids). This will not target the tumour directly but will reduce inflammation, which relieves stress on the spinal cord.

In cases of malignant tumours, radiotherapy is a common and effective form of treatment. Surgery can be considered in some instances, either alone or alongside radiotherapy. When used alongside radiotherapy, the surgery is minimally invasive. The latter combination is a relatively new treatment that is largely reserved for metastatic or primary spinal tumours.

What next?

This article is intended as an introduction to spinal tumours. We recommend that you get in touch and arrange an appointment with consultant neurosurgeon, Mr Shafqat Bukhari.

Mr Bukhari became an expert in the field of neurosurgery through his studies at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He moved to the UK in 2012 and, since then, has aided countless spinal tumour sufferers in their recovery. His expertise in the field is of great comfort to patients as they set out on the road to recovery.