Spinal cancer can take the form of two main types of tumors. The most common type originates in a distant area of the body, such as a lung, breast or prostate, and then metastasizes (spreads) to the spinal vertebrae, the protective membrane that surrounds the spinal cord (the dural sac) or the spinal cord itself. A second, rarer type of spinal cancer originates either in the vertebrae or the neural components of the spine. Based on the types of cells in which they originate, spinal tumors are further classified as:
- Mixed gliomas
Any type of spinal tumor can compress sensitive neural tissue and lead to pain and other neurological symptoms. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications.
Moffit's Approach to Treating Spinal Cancer
At Moffitt Cancer Center, the philosophy of our Neuro-Oncology Program is based on a key underlying principle: We firmly believe that the benefits of any form of spinal cancer treatment can be maximized when the treatment is delivered by highly specialized medical professionals. Therefore, in order to ensure that we continually deliver world-class treatment, we’ve assembled a multispecialty team of spinal cancer specialists that includes well-respected experts in:
- Medical oncology
- Speech therapy
- Cosmetic surgery
- Radiation oncology
Our spinal tumor treatment team offers advanced therapies designed to stabilize tumors, preserve neural function and enhance patients’ quality of life. Whenever possible, we utilize minimally invasive techniques, such as retropleural thoractotomies, short segment fusions and the use of cages for spinal support. We also perform kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty to reconstruct compressed vertebrae, restore alignment and relieve neural pressure.
Patients are always welcome to come to Moffitt without referrals to receive advice, guidance and second opinions on a full range of complex neurologic cancers and conditions in a single, convenient location. On the other hand, if a patient is referred to us, our team can also work closely with the referring physician to arrange for the patient to receive treatment within his or her local community, if desired.
Moffitt serves as a hub for talented researchers and clinicians who are working continually to discover new therapies for spine cancer. Our efforts have been lauded by the National Cancer Institute, which has awarded us the prestigious designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our goal is to continually incorporate the knowledge we gain into new treatment options, and to make those treatments available to our patients so that they can benefit as soon as possible.