What is spinal cord compression?

What is spinal cord compression?

【YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED】Breast Cancer Care’s experts answer your questions about breast cancer and its treatments.

PiNK 2019 Summer p.15

Q: I’ve got secondary breast cancer in the bone and my oncologist said I need to look out for signs of spinal cord compression. What are they?

A:The spinal chord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain to the lower back. If you have secondary breast cancer in the bone, it may spread to the bones in the spine. This can sometimes put pressure on the spinal cord. This is called spinal cord compression.
Spinal cord compression can cause a number of symptoms including:

  • Unexplained back or neck pain which may also be felt around the front of chest or tummy.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Numbness or pins and needles in the fingers, toes, or bottom.
  • Problems controlling or passing urine or bowel movements.
  • Pain in the back which changes when you lie down, stand up, or lift something.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your treatment team straight away.