Information for the public
Metastatic spinal cord compression
People who have cancer are at risk of it spreading to other parts of their body including the liver, lungs or bones. When cancer spreads it is known as 'metastatic'.
Cancer that has spread to the spine is known as 'spinal metastases'. Spinal metastases can be painful and if not treated can lead to metastatic spinal cord compression. This information explains the NICE guidance on the care of people who have metastatic spinal cord compression – this is when the spinal metastases press on the nerves in the spine that carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body (these nerves are known as the spinal cord). If it isn't treated quickly, metastatic spinal cord compression can lead to serious disability, including permanent paralysis, and early death.