Malignant Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC) occurs when the dural sac and its contents are compressed at the level of the cord or cauda equine. This may be a result of direct pressure, vertebral collapse or instability caused by metastatic spread or by direct extension of malignancy. It affects 5 to 10% of patients with cancer. Myeloma and lung, Breast and prostate are the commonest malignancies involved, but MSCC should be considered in any malignancy especially with bone involvement.
Cord compression can be the initial presentation of cancer. 1in 5 presenting with MSCC are not previously known to have cancer.1 in 10 MSCC patients will have spinal instability at presentation.
Late diagnosis is common causing permanent loss of function and significant morbidity.
Contacting your local MSCC co-ordinator will ensure rapid assessment, investigation and treatment of the patient. Early treatment may prevent or limit irreversible neurological damage. Please follow the pathway below.