Spinal metastases can be painful and if not treated can lead to metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC); this is when the spinal metastases press on the spinal cord.

MSCC is rare; between 5 and 10% of cancer patients develop spinal cord compression. All types of cancer can spread to the bones of the spine but it is most common in cancers of the prostate, lung and breast. If not diagnosed and treated urgently, damage to the spinal cord can lead to permanent paralysis.

Last updated: January 2021