Symptoms of a spinal cord tumor may include back pain, loss of sensation in the arms and legs, loss of bladder or bowel function, difficulty walking, and muscle weakness, explains Mayo Clinic. Affected individuals may also have decreased sensitivity to hot, cold and pain.
Different symptoms may develop based on the type of tumor and its location on the spine. Symptoms may also develop as the growing tumor affects surrounding blood vessels and nerves, as well as the spinal cord itself. One of the most common early symptoms of cancerous and benign tumors is back pain, which may radiate to the back of the hips and to the arms, legs or feet. Even with treatment, this symptom may worsen over time, according to Mayo Clinic. Muscle weakness may result from a spinal cord tumor compressing the nerves and may vary in intensity and location.
Patients may experience focal spinal pain that worsens in the morning, or their back pain may be worse at night and fail to improve with rest, notes Spine-health. Constitutional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, unplanned weight loss, fever and loss of appetite may accompany back pain. Tumors originating in the spinal cord are rare and normally benign, but cancer patients experiencing symptoms of a spinal cord tumor require immediate evaluation, as this indicates their cancer may have spread to the spine.