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Spinal Cancer

< Brain and Spine Cancer

Spinal Cancer

About Spinal Cancer

Spine tumors and spine cancer can develop in the bones, nerves and other tissues that make up the spine, which facilitates movement and supports your body. The spinal cord has bundles of very long nerve fibers that carry signals that control muscles, sensation or feeling, and bladder and bowel control.

Spinal cord tumors can cause weakness, paralysis or numbness. The spinal cord is a narrow structure, so tumors within it usually cause symptoms on both sides of the body (for example, weakness or numbness of both legs). This is different from most brain tumors, which often affect only one side of the body.


Spine tumors that are close to major nerves can disrupt their ability to transmit messages between the body and the brain. This can cause neurologic symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Sensory problems
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in both legs or arms

Risk Factors

We don’t yet know what exactly causes spine tumors. People with certain immune disorders or genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis 2, are more likely to develop spine tumors than other people.