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Coloured MRI scan of metastatic cancer of spine

Coloured MRI scan of metastatic cancer of spine

M134/0319

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Credit

MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Metastatic cancer of the spine. Coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of a sagittal section through the thoracic spine, showing bone cancer. This secondary (metastatic) cancer of the bony vertebrae has spread from a primary cancer of the colon. The spinal cord (at centre, red) runs from top to bottom. To its left are square-shaped vertebral bones of the spine (purple). Some of these bones (centre, below centre) have cancerous tumours (green) which have caused the vertebrae to fracture and crumble. The spinal cord is affected (yellow) causing symptoms of intense back pain. If the spinal cord is damaged by compression, para- lysis may occur. Treatment is by radiotherapy.

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