Doctors at Toronto Western Hospital have come up with a new minimally invasive, outpatient spine surgical procedure for treating cancer that has spread to the spine.
It is believed that almost 40-50 percent of metastic cancers end up in the spine and the most common primary cancers to spread to the bones of the spine are breast and lung cancer.
Spinal tumours can drastically affect a patient's quality of life and result in pain and reduced mobility.
A spinal tumour or a growth of any kind can impinge on nerves, leading to pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis.
The new procedure involves a small incision in the back (the size of a loonie) in order to remove the tumour and stabilize the damaged spine.
Other than providing a shorter recovery time, its benefits also include allowing patients to receive radiation treatment shortly after surgery.
Traditional surgical methods involve a longer and more painful recovery process, thus making patients to wait weeks before resuming radiation treatment.
The combination of surgery and radiation leads to better outcomes and quality of life.