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Cancer Treatment for Spinal Tumors

Treatment for Cancerous Spinal Tumors -- 718.780.3677

Many advanced cancers, including those originating in the breast, lung and prostate, may metastasize (spread) to the spine. As a metastatic tumor grows in the spinal area, it expands, displacing or destroying healthy tissue and creating pressure on the spine, spinal cord, and spinal nerves.

The most common symptom of spinal metastasis is persistent back pain, which usually starts off as a dull ache, and progresses slowly to become acute pain. Other symptoms include spine deformity, neurological dysfunction, incontinence of the bowel or bladder and/or changes in balance or walking.

Treatment for spinal metastasis depends on the type and location of the tumor, how far the tumor has spread, and the general health of the patient. Common treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery or medication. Ever the pioneer, New York Methodist Hospital has added an additional treatment option.

The new procedure, which was developed at New York Methodist, builds on a standard treatment kyphoplasty in which a neurosurgeon injects a cement-like material in the spine to eradicate pain. Doctors mix Samarium, a radioactive material that kills cancer cells, with the cement-like material thats injected into the spine. This offers two benefits: pain control and cancer control.

Called vertebral intracavitary cement and Samarium (VICS, for short), the procedure is performed under local anesthesia in approximately one hour. Most patients feel immediate pain relief and return home the same day.

Samarium, the cancer killing substance thats injected into the spine, is FDA approved for patients with cancer in the bone, but has side effects when given intravenously. However, when it has been injected into the spine, patients have reported no side effects. The new technique has been presented at international meetings and has been reported in peer reviewed journals.

NYM has provided this service to dozens of patients with great success. NYM physicians also now teaching the technique to physicians at other metropolitan area hospitals.

For more information, call 718.780.3677

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