Medical Q&As

Spinal tumour - treatment?

My 4-year-old son is about to start chemotherapy treatment for a spinal tumour. I would like to know more about it and any advice?

I can only address your question in very general terms because you do not indicate which type of tumour your son has. Spinal tumours can arise within the substance of the spinal cord; the so-called intramedullary spinal cord tumour or they can arise within the solid bony structure of the spine. These different types of tumour require an entirely different approach and the treatment plan is dictated by the precise diagnosis. The majority of intramedullary spinal cord tumours grow very slowly, which means that the tumour may have been present for some time before symptoms develop. However, approximately 10% of intramedullary cord tumours tend to grow very rapidly giving rise to symptoms soon after they develop. Tumours within the structure of the spine can arise within different tissues. For example, an osteochondroma arises within the bone cartilage; a haemangioma arises within blood vessels whereas an osteoid osteoma and osteoblastoma arise within the bone itself. It would be best to seek further information about your sonís prognosis from the team that is currently looking after him because they would be aware of the precise diagnosis and the actual treatments that would be necessary to treat him.