of the spine and spinal cord are relatively uncommon.
The most common initial symptom that patients
with a spinal tumour have is pain. Because neck
pain, and pain caused by a cervical (neck) disorder
is very common, it is also not a specific symptom
of any one disease or medical condition. Spinal
cord tumours can be either primary (originating
in the spinal cord) or secondary (metastases of
cancer that originated elsewhere in the body).
Therefore, the challenge is to determine how to
evaluate neck pain with the goal of specifically
excluding a tumour as the cause of the pain. Luckily,
most neck pain is not due to a tumour. However,
if a cancer were discovered after a long period
of "conservative" management of neck pain, most
patients would feel that their problem should
have been investigated more thoroughly in the
Doctors use the term "benign"
to indicate that a particular tumour is unlikely
to spread to others parts of the body. Benign
tumours can still be a significant problem however,
depending upon their location, size, adjacent
structures, blood supply, and other factors. Fortunately,
most benign tumours can be treated successfully.
the term "malignant" to indicate that a particular
tumour or a cancer often spreads to other parts
of the body, and can be difficult to cure or treat.
This is very different from "benign" cancers,
which are much less likely to spread, are easier
to treat and control.