Approximately 5% of the patients with advanced malignancies develop symptoms of threatening spinal cord lesion. The condition is most frequently in patients with cancer originating from lungs, prostate or breast, but is also seen in other types of cancer where bone metastases may occur.
- Pain in the back, possibly in the neck
- Changes in existing pain (increased intensity, changed character, radiance of pain)
- Pain that worsens with exertion (for example cough, sneeze or going to the toilet)
- Walking difficulties and inability to control the extremities
- Paralysis of the legs and-/or arms
- Loss of sensation
- Urinary problems and/or defecation problems
The stability in columna
- Ambulatory patients without neurological deficits do not need strict bed rest.
- For other patients, it may be appropriate to have strict bed rest until the stability of columna is assessed. The need of strict bed rest is assessed by a physician based on the risk of increased neurological deficits and the degree of pain. When columna is considered stable enough (usually clarified 2 to 4 days after the initiation of radiotherapy), gradually mobilization until pain threshold should quickly get started. Increasing pain or neurological deficits should be observed during mobilization.
- For strict bed rest, the head end of the bed can be elevated up to 30 ° C.
- If flat bed rest causes increased pain, the head end of the bed should be raised until pain reduction.
- Threatening spinal cord lesion caused by tumor/metastases.
- Limit spinal cord damage so that functions may be maintained.