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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Chemotherapy for spinal cancer


Chemotherapy for spinal cancer

Our medical oncologists treat primary and metastatic spinal cancer with an aggressive and creative approach, selecting spinal cancer chemotherapy drugs and delivery methods based on your individual needs.

Chemotherapy drugs may be administered orally in pill form, or injected into the vein. For some spinal tumors, drugs may be given directly into the cerebrospinal fluid. You may receive chemotherapy alone, or in combination with other spinal cancer treatments, such as surgery and/or radiation therapy.

Addressing side effects of spinal cancer chemotherapy

Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cancer cells. Yet, some healthy cells in the body also divide rapidly, like those in the hair follicles, mouth, stomach and bone marrow. When the drugs damage these healthy cells, the following chemotherapy side effects may result:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of infection (from low white blood cell counts)
  • Fatigue (from low red blood cell counts)
  • Easy bruising and bleeding (from low blood platelet counts)

Before chemotherapy begins, your care team will meet with you to answer your questions and talk about what you can expect from treatment, including how we’ll help you manage chemotherapy side effects. For example, your doctor may prescribe certain drugs before and during treatment to combat nausea or prevent infection. We’ll also do routine blood tests to monitor your blood cell counts. Your doctor may also prescribe steroids to help improve neurologic functioning and increase appetite.

Additionally, therapies like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management and oncology rehabilitation may help reduce chemotherapy-related side effects and keep you strong so you can maintain your quality of life as much as possible during treatment.