Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
Some cancer treatments can cause the spine to curve abnormally.
Scoliosis and kyphosis are 2 spinal conditions that can happen. Both can be treated.
The spine or backbone is a group of bones stacked in a straight line down the middle of the back. It is held together with muscles and ligaments.
The spine has 3 three main functions:
Scoliosis occurs when the spine rotates to the side.
A healthy spine appears as a straight line when viewed from the back. With scoliosis, the spine curves like the letter "S" or "C."
Scoliosis is diagnosed when there is at least a 10-degree side-to-side curve on the X-ray.
Scoliosis happens in many young people, especially teenagers. Often the cause is unknown.
Patients who have received certain types of radiation are at greater risk for uneven development of the muscles, bones, and soft tissues of the back.
Childhood cancer survivors at risk for scoliosis include those who had:
Kyphosis is an abnormal rounding of the upper part of the back. People with kyphosis may appear to be slouching or have a hump on their back.
Kyphosis is confirmed when there is a 50-degree or higher curve on the X-ray.
People at risk for kyphosis include those who had:
If scoliosis or kyphosis is diagnosed, patients are usually referred to an orthopedic specialist.
Treatment for both conditions is usually handled in stages:
For more information, visit the Children’s Oncology Group Scoliosis and Kyphosis Health Link.
Reviewed: May 2020