Spine Cancer

Duke's spine and cancer experts work together to find the best strategy to treat your tumor and speed up your recovery. We treat the full range of spine cancers, including chordoma, primary and metastatic spinal column tumors, and spinal cord tumors.

Expert Spine Cancer Care

Most cases of spine cancer are metastatic cancer — meaning they have spread from another part of the body already affected by cancer. Our doctors develop a treatment plan designed just for you and the type of tumor you have. We base our treatments on input from our spine and cancer specialists, who develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient. As a team, we recommend the best course of action for you. It may include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, radio surgery or a combination of these therapies.

Choose Duke for your spine cancer care because we offer:

  • Surgical expertise. Removing delicate spinal cord tumors requires a great deal of experience and precision. We have the leading spine surgery team in the state. We perform more than 1,200 spine surgeries every year.
  • Reputation for excellence. Our program combines the expertise of specialists in our spine and cancer programs. Our cancer program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the best cancer program in North Carolina and one of the top nationwide.
  • Precise diagnosis. Diagnosing spine cancer involves pinpointing the exact location of your spinal tumor, its type, and how advanced it is. We use advanced imaging tests and minimally invasive biopsy to get accurate, fast results that allow us to plan and start your treatment as soon as possible. 
  • Team approach. Each individual on our team of specialists plays a role to ensure your spinal tumor shrinks or is removed. We take every precaution to reduce your risk of the tumor recurring. Your care team includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, medication oncologists and radiosurgery specialists — all of whom may play a role in your treatment.
  • Intraoperative imaging technology. We offer advanced, intraoperative capabilities with CT and MRI. That means our surgeons use detailed, real-time 3-D pictures of your spine to guide them so they surgically remove your spinal tumor with precision.  
  • Support to you and your family. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of cancer treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  


Treatment for all types of spinal column tumors depends on the tumor type, where it is located, and your symptoms. With certain types of small tumors, we may recommend a watch-and-wait approach. In most cases, we recommend radiation therapy alone or with surgery.


To determine whether you have spine cancer, your doctor will perform a physical exam. You may also have the following tests:

Patient resources

Ready for an appointment?
- call us at -