Symptoms of a Spinal Tumor

The most common symptom of a spine tumor is back pain that does not improve with rest. Most back pain, of course, is not caused by a spinal tumor, so an accurate diagnosis is critical. (Read more about back pain here.)

Other common symptoms of a spine tumor include:

  • Sciatica (pain that runs along the sciatic nerve, which radiates from the lower back, down the buttocks and back of the leg)
  • Numbness in the legs, arms, or chest
  • Difficulty walking
  • Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, as a result of spine-deforming tumor growth

It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible if your pain persists and if you have a history of cancer — the spine is a common place for another cancer to spread.

Seek treatment immediately if you have:

  • Impaired bladder or bowel function
  • Paralysis


Spine tumors are serious and complex lesions, and they should be evaluated by experienced spine surgeons and spinal oncologists at a major medical center. At Weill Cornell, our Spinal Tumor Program provides expert multidisciplinary care for patients with both primary and metastatic spine tumors, as well as access to clinical trials.

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What our Patients Say

Matilde Anacoreta moved to New York from Portugal at age 7 with her parents, Maria and Miguel, and her brother, Mateus. By middle school Matilde was a typical American girl, enjoying skiing and surfing. But at age 13, Matilde had to take a break...
This active little girl was ordered to stay still while recovering from risky spine surgery — but nobody could keep her from getting back on her feet.

Our Care Team

  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Director, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
Phone: 212-746-1164
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Director, Neurosurgical Radiosurgery
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Robert G. Schwager, MD ’67 Education Scholar, Cornell University
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NYP Lower Manhattan
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837 (Queens) / 888-922-2257 (Manhattan)
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn)
  • Vice Chairman for Academic Affairs
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Associate Residency Director
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Victor and Tara Menezes Clinical Scholar in Neuroscience
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery in Pediatrics
Phone: 212-746-2363

Reviewed by: Rohan Ramakrishna, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: December 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787