Malignant spinal-cord compression happens when cancer grows in or near the spinal column, exerting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Any type of cancer can spread to the bones of the spinal column, although malignant spinal-cord compression is seen more commonly in people with cancer of the breast, lungs, or prostate and in people with lymphoma or myeloma.

Common symptoms include:

  • back or neck pain
  • numbness or tickling in the toes, fingers, or buttocks
  • feeling of unsteadiness on your feet
  • bladder or intestinal problems

If you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know immediately so that he or she may perform some tests. Usually, your doctor will advise you to lie on your back and remain still until the results are ready. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more likely it can be treated successfully. Steroids, radiotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy may be used depending on each individual's situation.

The care needed after treatment will depend on the results of the treatment and your degree of mobility. A team of professionals will work with you to organize your care and rehabilitation needs.