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Question re spinal cancer symptoms?

(4 Posts)
AhAgain Thu 13-Oct-16 22:53:54


Sorry to ask this, but wanted to ask some questions and can't think where else to ask at the moment.

Mum has Stage 4 breast cancer, currently in remission (hopefully - has been for about 10/12 months). They found some "scarring" on several of her vertebrae after her chemo (so the cancer has spread there, but was successfully treated by the chemo/hormones/etc)

Yesterday mum had something unusual happen: she was having her "three weekly" honrmone/herceptin/etc treatment, had been sitting down (comfortably) for about 3 hours, got up and her legs were completely numb (she said it was like anepidural). The nurse checked her blood pressure and it was fine. She stopped herself falling (thank goodness) and, after resting for 20 minutes, was absolutely fine. No similar episode since (28 hours on).

So, I am thinking "maybe sat down too long and trapped a nerve" - could happen to anyone. Have warned her to be extra extra extra careful if getting up for sitting etc. She is a very mobile 78 year old, but a fall would be awful.

Anyway talking to her again tonight, got me thinking and (probably a mistake) googling... Was looking at the symptoms for spinal/cord cancer and see that "numbness" is one of them. Unfortunately she has IBS, bladder problems and Fibromyalgia anyway - which seem to cover/hide the other symptoms... She has had problems with that recently, but has a long, unbroken history of it.

If the numbness IS possibly cancer related, can we expect this to start escalating? Anything else to look for?

I plan to ensure this is mentioned (casually) at mum's next Oncologist appointment (need to check when that is, but believe she is due for a scan and appointment imminently). Don't want to worry mum with it at the moment (although it may well have crossed her mind already...).

Any thoughts much appreciated.

gingeroots Fri 14-Oct-16 08:48:37

I think I would ask about the scarring on the vertebrae .

When I had a scan on my oesphageous post chemo I was told that the tumour hadn't reduced in size but that some of it might be scarring .They couldn't be sure from the scan results .

It might be completely different in your mum's case as it's such a different location and next to bone whereas mine was next to soft tissue ,so perhaps easier to determine the scan results ?

I'm so sorry you're all going through this .flowers

lyrebird1 Fri 14-Oct-16 12:20:32

Hi, I am a long-time lurker, but hope I might be able to help.

Sorry to hear about your mum. It must be very worrying for both of you. I have a tumour in my spinal cord (benign, not metastatic) so I may be able to answer some of your questions.

Regarding symptoms, numbness and tingling is a symptom of spinal cord tumours, caused by compression of the spinal cord. Other symptoms include bladder and bowel problems (which you say your mum has problems with any way, so they might not be picked up on), possibly problems walking, and also back pain, which is worse at night when lying down. I would expect symptoms to escalate, possibly quite quickly.

The thing about spinal cord tumours is that they are incredibly rare (think maybe one or two per million people), which is reassuring, but they are potentially very serious. I am not a medical professional, but I would advise that unless your mum's appointment and scan is very imminent (days rather than weeks), you should think about trying to get a referral to a neurosurgery department for a scan, because if it is a tumour, the sooner it is picked up the better.

Sorry for the long post. I hope it is nothing serious (in all likelihood, the numbness will have been caused by something else - the first thing my doctor told me was not to Google spinal cord tumours!) Best of luck to you and your mum.

AhAgain Sat 15-Oct-16 22:52:51

Thank you very much, both, that is all very helpful to understand what might be going on and what questions to ask.

Very very best wishes, both.

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