Spinal Metastasis

Metastases occur when malignant cancer cells break away from their original location, the primary tumor, usually via the bloodstream. Metastases can develop everywhere in the body. Tumors that can lead to spinal metastases are among others breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and some varieties of blood cancer.


A spinal metastasis can be limited to the bone and may not give any symptoms. If the tumor grows outside of the bone it may start compressing the nerves around the spinal cord. Symptoms can vary based on the location of the tumor in the spine, but may include:

  • Weakness in arms and/or legs

  • Numbness

  • Bladder or bowel control problems (incontinence)


Treatment of metastatic cancer of the spine depends on the location, size, and type of the tumor. If the tumor is limited to the bone, it's usually treated with radiation therapy and sometimes with chemotherapy that also is used to treat the primary tumor. Sometimes surgery is necessary, for example to stabilise the spine.

Within UNCH Haaglanden Medical Centre is specialised in diagnosing and treating patients with spinal metastasis. More information (in Dutch) can be found on NVvN's website.

Ons advies