Malignant spinal cord compression (MSCC) happens when cancer cells grow in, or near to, the spine and press on the spinal cord and nerves. This causes swelling and a reduction in the blood supply to the spinal cord and nerve roots. The symptoms of spinal cord compression are caused by the increasing pressure (compression) on the spinal cord and nerves.
Any type of cancer can spread to the bones of the spine (vertebrae), which may lead to spinal cord compression. It is more common in certain cancers including breast, lung or prostate and people who have lymphoma or myeloma.