Spinal cancer

Spinal cord tumours

Several types of tumour can start in the spinal cord. If you are diagnosed with spinal cancer, you will have immediate access to our world-leading consultants and state-of-the-art hospitals

About spinal cancer

Most cancer in the spine arises within the bones, having spread from elsewhere in the body. Occasionally tumours may arise directly from the tissues of the nervous system. Both benign and malignant spinal cancers cause signs and symptoms that require treatment.

Types of spinal cancer


Ependymomas belong to a group of tumours called gliomas. They can start in the spinal cord or brain.

Nerve-sheath tumours

A type of tumour that originates in the central nervous system (CNS) in the spinal cord.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of spinal cancer? icon plus

    Symptoms of spinal cancer may include: 

    • back or neck pain that does not get better with rest
    • numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs
    • a change in normal bowel or bladder habits
    • loss of appetite, unplanned weight loss, nausea, vomiting or generally feeling unwell
  • How is spinal cancer diagnosed? icon plus

    You will have imaging tests to diagnose spinal cancer. This may include: 

    • an MRI scan of the brain and spine
    • CT scan
    • X-ray
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options will depend on your age, general health and the position, size and type of the tumour you have. They may include:

    • Steroid injections to help control the symptoms.
    • Surgery. Your consultant will attempt to remove the entire tumour, or as much of it as possible (debulking surgery).
    • Radiotherapy. This may be used after surgery or as the main treatment if surgery is not possible.
    • Anti-cancer drugs such as chemotherapy.

Our spinal specialists

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields in spinal cancer care, including spinal neurosurgeons, orthopaedic spinal surgeons and oncologists specialising in spinal cancer.

Our locations

From complex spinal surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional surgical and non-surgocal cancer care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Contact our experienced cancer team

Any questions about our cancer services or treatment? We're happy to advise you or help you book an appointment in London, Birmingham or Manchester with a cancer specialist consultant.

Call us on 

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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