Spinal tumor

Alternative Names

Tumor – spinal cord

Definition of Spinal tumor

A spinal tumor is a growth of cells (mass) in or surrounding the spinal cord.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Any type of tumor may occur in the spine, including:


The symptoms depend on the location, type of tumor, and your general health. Tumors that have spread to the spine from another site (metastatic tumors) often progress quickly. Primary tumors often progress slowly over weeks to years.

Signs and tests

A neurological examination may help pinpoint the location of the tumor. The health care provider may also find the following during an exam:


The goal of treatment is to reduce or prevent nerve damage from pressure on (compression of) the spinal cord.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome varies depending on the tumor. Early diagnosis and treatment usually leads to a better outcome.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/26/2010

Spinal tumor

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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