Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I have a type of cancer called multiple myeloma. It has spread to the bone in the neck area. Because of my other health issues, I'm not a good candidate for surgery to fuse the unstable spine. Is there anything else that can be done?

Answer:

Doctors at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Clinic in Houston, Texas have reported on the results of patients receiving radiation in similar circumstances. There were 35 patients treated with external beam radiation and/or surgery. The main symptoms were pain and neck instability.

The results showed that everyone got good pain relief. Some of the patients who had surgery didn't have as good a result as those who had radiation alone. It appears from that study that radiation may be all that is needed. Patients may be able to avoid surgery and still get relief from pain and increased stability of the neck.

Everyone wore a neck collar after treatment with radiation and/or surgery for at least three months. It's not clear how long an external cervical orthosis of this type is really needed. Some patients wore it for many months. Others stopped wearing it when they were pain free and the X-rays showed the fractures were healed. Ganesh Rao, MD, et al. Multiple Myeloma of the Cervical Spine: Treatment Strategies for Pain and Spinal Instability. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. August 2006. Vol. 5. No. 2. Pp. 140-145.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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