Spinal tumors take the form of diverse types of lesions ranging from benign (non-cancerous) tumors treated with surgical resection, to malignant (cancerous) tumors that require multidisciplinary care involving surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

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Benign spinal tumors include meningiomas, neurofibromas, and schwannomas. These most often occur inside the spinal canal, but outside the spinal cord itself. These types of spinal tumors are most often treated with surgical resection alone, although more complex cases may also require additional therapy such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Malignant spinal tumors of the spinal column may be divided into two categories: the rare primary tumors, which arise in the bones of the spine, such as osteosarcomas, chordomas, and giant cell sarcomas; and the more common secondary, or metastatic tumors. Metastatic spinal tumors occur when cancer cells from another part of the body from cancers such as lung, breast, prostate, and colon spread to the spine either via direct extension or through the bloodstream. Spinal tumors of these types often need an aggressive multidisciplinary approach, possibly including surgery, spinal column reconstruction, radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and/or chemotherapy. Treatment from an experienced spinal oncologic surgeon is necessary for optimal results if surgery is required.

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