Also part of the UPMC family:
Also part of the UPMC family:

Spinal Tumors and Cancer Diagnosis

UPMC Content 3

Diagnosing Spinal Tumors and Cancer at UPMC

Early diagnosis can be an important factor in the outcome of tumors in the spinal cord. At UPMC, our team of experts has access to the most advanced imaging and diagnostic testing technology to ensure patients receive an accurate diagnosis.

Spinal Tumor and Cancer Symptoms

Back pain, especially in the middle or lower back, is the most frequent symptom of spinal tumors or cancer. The pain tends to be progressive and may spread beyond the spine to the hips, legs, feet, or arms.

Other signs and symptoms of spinal cancer or tumors may include:

  • Loss of sensation or muscle weakness, especially in the legs
  • Difficulty walking, sometimes leading to falls
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat, and cold
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function
  • Paralysis that may occur in varying degrees and in different parts of the body, depending on which nerves are compressed
  • Scoliosis or other spinal deformity

If patients experience one or more of these symptoms, UPMC imaging experts may use X-rays; CT, MRI, and PET scans; and myelograms, as a form of diagnosis to determine the presence and extent of the spinal tumor.


Spine Radiosurgery: An Alternative Approach
Dr. Peter Gerszten discusses the advantages to spine radiosurgery treatment for patients.

Find a Doctor

Browse UPMC doctors and medical professionals to find the care that's right for you. Customize your search by specialty, zip code, last name, and more.


Visit the UPMC Find a Doctor website.
Make an Appointment

Find important information on scheduling your appointment or finding a doctor or service that meets your needs.


Request an appointment now.
Find a Location

Browse addresses and contact information for our network of hospitals, specialty care practices, and community health locations.


Find a UPMC location near you.
Pay Your Bill

Learn more about how to pay your UPMC bill. Find resources including payment methods and contact information for assistance.


Pay your bill now.
Find a Career

Advance your career with UPMC. Discover our latest job listings and learn about our values and career pathways.


Find your ideal career at UPMC.