Expert Spine Cancer and Tumor Care
Although most cases of spine cancer are metastatic (meaning they have spread from another part of the body already affected by cancer), our specialists are also experts in the rare forms of spine cancer and tumors that are primary (meaning they originate in the spine).
We base our treatment recommendations on input from our spine and cancer specialists, who develop a personalized treatment plan for each person. As a team, we recommend the best course of action for you. It may include radiation, chemotherapy, radiosurgery, traditional surgery, or a combination of these therapies.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
To determine whether you have spine cancer or a benign spine tumor, your doctor will perform a physical exam. You may also need the following tests:
Minimally Invasive Biopsy
A tissue sample from your tumor is extracted and tested for cancer. An imaging technique, such as X-ray, helps guide the doctor during the minimally invasive procedure.
X-rays take pictures of bones inside your body and show any areas of instability in your spine. Because X-rays only show bones and not discs or nerves, another imaging test is usually needed.
Magnets and radio waves are used to take detailed pictures of your spinal discs and the nerve roots of your spinal cord.
A series of cross-sectional pictures produce detailed, 3D images of your spine and spinal cord.
A dye is injected into the sac around the nerve roots in your spinal cord; this makes them more visible on a CT scan.
A radioactive tracer is injected into a vein to help doctors identify signs of cancer in your bones. A special camera that detects radiation takes pictures of your spine to show how much of the tracer has collected in your bones.
A radioactive tracer collects in organs and tissues, making them more visible in images. A scanner takes 3D pictures of your spine that highlight the location of tumors.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
Why Choose Duke
Our spine surgery team has the experience and precision needed to remove delicate spinal cord tumors. We perform more than 3,000 spine surgeries every year. Our program combines the expertise of specialists in both spine and cancer care. As a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, we provide a level of cancer expertise and experience only found in the top 4% of U.S. centers. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.
Determining whether your spine tumor is cancerous requires pinpointing its exact location, type, and how advanced it is. We use advanced imaging tests and minimally invasive biopsy methods to get accurate, fast results so we can plan and start your treatment as soon as possible.
Each individual on our team plays a key role in ensuring your spinal tumor shrinks or is removed. We take every precaution to reduce your risk of recurrence. Your care team includes surgeons, oncologists, and radiosurgery specialists.
Intraoperative Imaging Technology
We offer advanced intraoperative capabilities with CT and MRI. That means our surgeons use detailed, real-time 3D pictures of your spine to guide them while they surgically remove your spinal tumor.
Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping you minimize the side effects of cancer treatment to helping you and your family cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.