How We Can Help You
Spine tumors are cancerous or noncancerous growths that begin in or around the spinal cord. They can spread in the layer of tissue surrounding the spinal cord or its nerve roots. Spine tumors can be life-threatening and may lead to permanent disability.
The Stanford Brain and Spine Tumor Program is a global referral center for the diagnosis and treatment of spinal tumors. It is known for its innovation, collaborative multi-specialty care, and compassion.
Treatments for spine tumors include advanced approaches to surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), radiation therapy, drug therapy, or a combination of therapies. Your doctor will guide you through the options to help you decide what is best for you.
What We Offer You for Spine Tumors
- Globally-recognized expertise in the diagnosis and management of spine tumors.
- Team-based treatment planning that brings together specialists from neurosurgery, neurologic oncology, neuroradiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, neuropathology, physical and occupational therapy, and more.
- Access to advanced imaging including neuronavigation of the brain to help surgeons more clearly distinguish tumors from sensitive surrounding tissues.
- Comprehensive support services like occupational or physical rehabilitation, nutritional and emotional support to help you with your specific symptoms and the challenges of this experience.
- An active clinical research program dedicated to broadening options for the diagnosis and treatment of spine tumors.
- Assistance from our International Medical Services team to plan your travel and accommodations.
Spine Tumor Treatment
Treatment of spine tumors depends on the size and location of the tumor, its rate of growth, and considerations with your overall health.
Stanford Health Care is a sought-after referral center for leading-edge approaches to manage spine tumors. Our goal is to fully understand your symptoms and their impact as we work with you to develop your treatment plan.
Our doctors from multiple specialties collaborate to formulate your best treatment options.
The most common tumor management tools are surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), radiation therapy, medication (drug) therapy, and active surveillance:
We are a global resource center for the management of spine tumors.
Not all spine tumors require immediate treatment. Those that are small, and not growing or pressing on critical structures may simply require periodic monitoring.
Drug therapies that may help destroy tumor cells or stall their growth include:
- Chemotherapy: Drugs that destroy cancer cells throughout your entire body
- Targeted therapy: Drugs that disrupt tumors by targeting certain features on tumor cells
- Immunotherapy: This is the newest class of anti-cancer medications and stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight tumors
If your doctor recommends surgery, we are one of the most sought-after centers in the world. We offer three broad approaches to spinal tumor surgery:
- Decompression allows your surgeon to completely or partially remove the tumor to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
- Embolization allows an interventional radiologist to block blood flow to the tumor to shrink it. The doctor guides a catheter (thin, flexible tube) from a large artery in the thigh to the artery supplying the tumor. The doctor then injects an embolizing material, such as particles or a glue-like material, to block blood flow to the tumor.
- Minimally invasive surgery allows your surgeon to stabilize fractures and relieve pain resulting from the tumors growing between vertebrae, the bones that make up your backbone.
Your doctor may recommend radiation therapy as a standalone treatment or as additional treatment to destroy any tumor cells that may remain after surgery.
We offer advanced options to deliver the maximum safe dose directly to the target tissue.
- CyberKnife is a robotic, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) system that delivers precise pulses of high-dose radiation to the target tissue, while limiting exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.
- 3D-Conformal Radiation Therapy uses 3D imaging to tailor the radiation beams to the shape of the tumor.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, sometimes referred to as IMRT, conforms the radiation beam to the contours of the tumor and customizes intensity of the radiation pulses to the various densities of the tumor tissue.
Medications to Treat Symptoms
Spine tumors as well as surgical and radiation treatments can lead to painful inflammation in your spinal cord. To relieve this symptom, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids to take after surgery or during radiation therapy.
Tumor Genomic Profiling
Some tumor types have specific genetic markers that might respond to certain medications. We will work to decode the genetic blueprint of the tumor to determine which medications may be right for you.
Our extensive range of clinical trials may allow you to receive a novel treatment before it is widely available.
Clinical trials evaluate new approaches, devices, or medications in the treatment of spine tumors. Ask your doctor or clinical trials coordinator about available trials that may be additional options for your care.
To learn more about the clinical trials we offer, contact Sophie Bertrand at 650-723-4467.
Our world-renowned neurosurgeons offer the latest options for treating spine tumors, including those that other centers consider too challenging to treat.
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