Back pain in the cancer patient: An algorithm for evaluation and management

Russell K. Portenoy, Richard B. Lipton, Kathleen M. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

Epidural spinal cord compression is common in patients with metastatic cancer. Back pain is usually the first symptom and may be present for months before neurologic abnormalities occur. A favorable outcome depends on early diagnosis and treatment. For the management of this problem, we propose an algorithm that begins with the treatment of patients who need emergency care and proceeds with an orderly approach to the evaluation of less urgent cases. The central elements include the criteria for myelography and the rational use of corticosteroids, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-138
Number of pages5
JournalNeurology
Volume37
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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