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I have a spinal tumour, what do I do?

Q: Initially I had numbness in the left little toe and I consulted a doctor. An MRI was done and I've been operated for a Schwannoma detected 6 years back in the D1-D2 to L1-L2 region. After the surgery I returned to work, got married and gave birth to a child. After delivery I started having occasional back pains and it started to worsen day by day. I went for a checkup and doctors insisted on another MRI as no post-operative MRI was taken and only partial excision of the tumour was done. Now the MRI says that the tumour has regrown in the same place (D1-D2 to L1-L2), is 11.5x4.9x4.3 cm at the widest dimension and no abnormal enhancements noticed in the rest of the vertebrae as well as the brain. Please suggest what further steps need to be taken to live a normal life again without pains. I would like to avoid surgery.

A:If I read your message correctly, your tumour now measures 11.5x4.9x4.3 cm. This is a large size for an intraspinal tumour. I am afraid such a tumour is likely to cause persistent and worsening symptoms. I understand your reluctance to undergo surgery in view of your earlier experience but there seems to be no alternative. I suggest you consult a senior neurosurgeon in a large teaching hospital near your residence and request an opinion and advice. Should there be no such institute, please go to a metropolitan centre such as New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. If, as I expect, surgery is recommended, please request the surgeon to proceed once you understand the benefits and risks.

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