Early symptoms of spinal tumors include pain, primarily when the patient is moving, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The growth of the tumor applies pressure to bones and nerves, causing compression fractures and choking off blood flow to the spinal cord.
In addition to pain, spine tumors next to major nerves interfere with their ability to communicate with the brain and the rest of the body. As a result, tingling, numbness and weakness in the limbs are common symptoms. Some patients experience difficulty balancing or walking, difficulties with sensory input, and loss of bladder and/or bowel control, notes Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
If the timing of pain shifts so that it happens at night and first thing in the morning, only to abate with movement, the tumor may have spread. The adrenal gland, responsible for creating steroids during the daytime to fight inflammation, is not as active during sleep, which explains the pain, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Only about one out of every 10 spine tumors originate in the spine. The rest are the result of cancer metastasizing from other parts of the body, such as the lungs, colon, breasts, kidneys or prostate. Sarcomas, which are cancers of connective tissue, muscle or bone, also sometimes spread to the spine, notes Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.