Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 24, 2018
In a perfect world, no child would get sick, let alone develop a spinal tumor. Unfortunately, as we know, we do not live in a perfect world. With that said, spinal tumors are like a lot of other health conditions in that the sooner they are diagnosed, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment. Because of this, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of pediatric spinal tumors so we can intervene as soon as possible. Below, we take a look at the risk factors associated with the development of spinal tumors in children.
In adults, things like alcohol or tobacco use, diet, body weight and physical activity all play a role in your risk of developing cancer, but those usually occur over a prolonged period of time, so they aren’t the biggest predictors of spinal tumor development in children. Instead, here are the risk factors to look out for:
If you have a family history of spinal tumors, or your child has been diagnosed with certain genetic conditions, they may be at a greater risk for the onset of a spinal tumor. Some of those genetic conditions include Neurofibromatosis type 1, Neurofibromatosis type 2, Tuberous Sclerosis and Von Hippel-Lindau disease.
Radiation-induced tumors are pretty rare now that we have a better understanding of the total effects of radiation on our bodies, but if they were exposed to radiation for treatment of another disease or while in the womb, it could lead to the development of a spinal tumor.
Weakened Immune System
If your child has a health condition that affects their immune system, they may have a higher risk of developing a spinal tumor. Individuals with weakened immune systems often have a higher chance of developing lymphomas of the spinal cord or brain. These immune deficiencies can be present at birth, or can be a result of treatment of a previous cancer.
Finally, an unfortunate reality is that some cancers have an effect on a body that makes the person more likely to develop a secondary cancer in a different location, like the spine. As we’ve alluded to above, spinal tumors can also form if the body is weakened as a result of treatment of a previous cancer.
Early treatment won’t fix 100 percent of spinal tumors, but in general, the sooner the tumor is identified, the better treatment results can be. If your child checks any of the above boxes for risk factors, bring it up to their doctor, and also keep an eye out for symptoms like pain, inhibited range of motion and nerve issues. We hope to never need to treat your child for a spinal tumor, but if you ever need us, we’re here in the Twin Cities area. Reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s clinic for more information.