Spinal cancers are locatedin the bones, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues that make up the spinal cord and spinal column. Patients may experience initial symptoms such as numbness, tingling, difficulty walking and frequent stumbling. These and other symptoms are due to the cancer’s interference with the normal functioning of the spinal cord. Our Radiation Oncologists in Anchorage offering spinal cancer treatment aim to preserve the health of the spinal cord and the structures that protect it.
A CLOSER LOOK AT SPINAL ANATOMY AND FUNCTION
The spinal cord is made of tightly bundled nerve cells that travel from the brainstem (base of the brain) all the way down the torso and into the legs. The cells are wrapped in special layers that help protect the important nerves from damage and injury. Movement, muscle function, organ function, and many other vital operations are made possible by the nerves of the spinal cord; it is a key part of the central nervous system (CNS) that relays essential information from the brain to all parts of the body and back again.
The spinal cord is further protected by bones, muscles, and other tissues that make up the spinal column. The abnormal cell growth that characterizes cancer may start in the cells that make up the spinal cord or in the cells that build the structures surrounding the cord. In either case, nerve function may be compromised; this results in the confusing and sometimes painful symptoms that lead patients to speak with a doctor in the first place. Common symptoms associated with spinal cancer include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Sensations of heat and cold
- Loss of sensation, especially in legs and arms
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of bladder and bowel function
GETTING THE RIGHT ANSWERS AT THE RIGHT TIME
If you have concerns about spinal health, speaking with a doctor is the first step. Our team of experts provides support for patients seeking treatment for many different types of cancer, including spinal cancer. Schedule a consultation today with the Anchorage CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center.