Cancers and Tumors
Spinal Tumors Symptoms and Diagnosis
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- How to schedule.
- Need a second opinion? Call 206-987-2106.
If this is a medical emergency, call 911.
- Urgent consultations (providers only): call 206-987-7777 or toll free 877-985-4637.
- If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
- No pre-referral workup is required for most conditions. If you have already done a work-up, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
- View our complete Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Referral Information (PDF).
Symptoms of Spinal Tumors
Symptoms of spinal tumors depend on the location and type of tumor. In general, symptoms of spinal tumors include:
- Back pain
- Unusual feelings in the legs, such as numbness or tingling
- Problems with bowel or bladder control
- Weakness in the muscles, especially the legs
Spinal Tumors Diagnosis
When you and your child visit our clinic for back pain, we will ask about warning signs of a serious problem in the spine:
- How bad is the back pain? Has it lasted for more than two months? Is the pain getting worse instead of better?
- Does the back pain wake your child up from a deep sleep?
- Does the back pain cause funny feelings in her leg muscles? Has your child felt numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs?
- Does the back pain disrupt bowel or bladder control?
- Is the back pain happening along with severe weight loss or high fever?
As a first step, we will take X-rays of your child's backbone. We will probably ask to take an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan too. Using these tests, doctors can identify most spinal tumors.
Your child may also need to have a biopsy. In this test, the doctor inserts a needle into your child's back and takes a small sample of the tumor to look at under a microscope. This helps doctors figure out exactly what kind of tumor your child has. It can also help you and your child's doctor develop a plan for treatment.
Getting pictures of your child's tumor is a very important both to diagnosis and treatment. Your child may have X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans (computer tomography) or PET scans (positron electron tomography) before and after treatment.