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Spinal Tumor Diagnosis

At MD Anderson, specially trained doctors called neuropathologists find and diagnose spinal tumors. This level of expertise is found at only a few cancer centers in the nation. And we have the most modern and accurate equipment available to pinpoint spinal tumors and find out exactly the extent of the disease.

Getting an accurate diagnosis for a spinal tumor is very important. It helps your doctor plan your care and may help increase the chance of successful treatment.

If you have symptoms that may signal a spinal tumor, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health, your lifestyle and your family medical history.

One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have spinal tumor and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This is the best way to look at all the parts of the spinal cord and spine. CT (computed tomography) scans also may be used.

Biopsy: A biopsy usually is needed to diagnose the type of spinal tumor, especially primary spine cancer. A biopsy may not be needed for secondary spine cancer. Often a biopsy requires surgery. Sometime it can be done with fine-needle aspiration (FNA).

Getting a Second Opinion at MD Anderson

The neuropathologists at MD Anderson are highly specialized in diagnosing and staging every type of spinal tumor. We welcome the opportunity to provide second opinions for spinal tumors.

In rare cases, spinal tumors can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Visit our genetic testing page to learn more.

Spinal Tumor Staging

Staging is a way of classifying cancer by how much disease is in the body and where it has spread when it is diagnosed. However, staging systems are not used for spinal tumors.

Clinical Trials

MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials
offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.

Knowledge Center

Find the latest news and information about spinal tumors in our Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news releases and more.