Advancements in cancer detection and screening, systemic therapies, and surgical techniques have led to prolonged patient survival. Now that patients diagnosed with cancer are living longer, there is more time for cancer to spread to the spine.
Metastatic disease to the spine affects up to 40 percent of cancer patients at some point during their clinical course. Metastasis to the spine can lead to significant adverse effects, including numbness/tingling, weakness, pain, and incontinence. These symptoms can limit or prevent an individual from working and negatively impact their quality of life. A significant proportion of patients who develop spinal metastasis will develop one or more of these symptoms. Spinal metastasis are among the leading causes of cancer pain, leading to frequent visits to the Emergency Department.
Cancers that commonly metastasize to the spine include lung, breast, prostate, melanoma, kidney, and thyroid cancers.