Our Treatment Approach
We know that you have the highest chance for successful treatment when your spinal tumor care is designed especially for your specific situation. That’s why we customize your therapy to include the most advanced treatments with the least impact on your body.
Spinal tumor care often requires complex and delicate surgery. The goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, while not disturbing important parts of the spine and surrounding structures. This requires a high degree of skill.
Surgical Skill is Key
Like all surgeries, spinal tumor surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson spine surgeons are among the most skilled and recognized in the world. They perform a large number of surgeries for spinal tumors each year, using the least-invasive and most advanced techniques. If surgery is not possible or cannot remove the entire spinal tumor, we often are able to treat the tumor using other leading-edge treatments.
And we’re constantly researching newer, safer, more-effective spinal tumor treatments. This means we are able to offer a range of clinical trials of new therapies for spinal tumors.
Our Spinal Tumor Treatments
If you are diagnosed with spine cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the type and location of the tumor and your general health.
One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the tumor or help relieve symptoms.
Corticosteroids: These drugs (such as dexamethasone) may be given to reduce swelling if a spinal tumor is pressing against the spinal cord. These tumors are treated as soon as possible, often with surgery.
Surgery: Some spinal tumors can be removed by surgery. If the entire tumor cannot be removed, radiation therapy may be given after surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Radiation therapy may be given alone or after surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife®) is an advanced form of treatment that focuses radiation precisely on the spinal tumor, causing less impact to healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy: MD Anderson offers the most up-to-date and advanced chemotherapy options for spinal tumors. These drugs may be taken orally or by injection. They may be given alone or with other treatments.
Targeted therapies: These newer agents are used to help fight some types of spinal tumors. Targeted therapies attack cancer cells by using small molecules to block pathways that cells use to survive and multiply.
Proton therapy: The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson is one of the largest and most advanced centers in the world. It’s the only proton therapy facility in the country located within a comprehensive cancer center. This means this cutting-edge therapy is backed by all the expertise and compassionate care for which MD Anderson is famous.
Proton therapy delivers high radiation doses directly to the tumor site, with no damage to nearby healthy tissue. For some patients, this therapy results in better cancer control with less impact on the body.
Our Spinal Tumor Clinical Trials
Because of its status as one of the world’s premier cancer centers, MD Anderson participates in many clinical trials (research studies) for spinal tumors. Sometimes they are your best option for treatment. Other times, they help researchers learn how to treat cancer and improve the future of cancer treatment.