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Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2006 Dec;20(6):1297-305.

Clinical approach to metastatic epidural spinal cord compression.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland Medical Center, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is a devastating complication of cancer that occurs when cancer metastasizes to the spine and then secondarily compresses the spinal cord. It is a relatively common complication of cancer and. in the United States, more than 20,000 cases of MESCC are diagnosed annually. If left untreated, virtually 100% of these patients would become paraplegic; therefore, it is considered a true medical emergency and immediate intervention is required. Even with aggressive therapy, results can often be unsatisfactory. Although most patients with MESCC have limited survival, up to one third will survive beyond one year. Thus. it is essential to consider aggressive therapy to preserve or improve the quality of life and prevent paraplegia.

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