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People with cancer are at risk of it spreading to other parts of the body.
This includes the spine and is known as Spinal Metastases.
Spinal Metastases can be painful and if not treated can lead to Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC).
This is when the spinal metastases press on the spinal cord and nerves in the spine.
Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC) is rare, but it can cause damage to the spinal cord and can lead to permanent paralysis.
This leaflet is not intended to scare you but to help you recognise the important symptoms of Spinal Metastases and Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC).
It is important to report your symptoms quickly as the earlier treatments are started the better the result usually is.
Symptoms can include the following:
If you have any of these symptoms listed please speak to your:
Please speak to one of the people above as soon as is practical and certainly within 24 hours.
Tell them you have cancer and that you are worried about your spine and would like to see a doctor.
Please show the doctor this fact sheet.
Before your doctor can be sure whether these symptoms may be caused by Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC), a number of tests will need to be done and these may include:
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan
CT (Computerised tomography) scan
The aim of the treatment is to shrink the tumour and to relieve pressure on the nerves.
Treatment usually involves a combination of the following:
Some people who have lost the ability to walk or have lost movement before treatment may not get this back.
In this situation treatment would usually be followed by a period of rehabilitation and further care from the health professional team.
They will work closely with you and your family to organise a plan of care and rehabilitation to suit your needs.
Your further care may be at your cancer centre or your local hospital.
The rehabilitation team will monitor your progress and help you to become as independent as possible.
Before you leave hospital, the staff should organise any care you will need while at home.
This may include nursing care and physiotherapy.
Adaptions to your home to make things easier for you such as ramps or wider door frames to allow wheelchair access can also be arranged.
Any equipment you may need such as wheelchairs, special mattresses or lifting aids will also be supplied.
This patient has cancer and is therefore at risk of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC).
If they have any symptoms discussed on this leaflet please consider Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC) as a possible diagnosis and discuss further management with the local Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC) coordinator.
To do this please call the:
ROYAL SUSSEX COUNTY HOSPITAL
ROYAL SUSSEX COUNTY HOSPITAL
THE SUSSEX CANCER CENTRE
Courtyard: Level 8
UROLOGY MACMILLAN TEAM
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: November 2019
Review Date: November 2022