Malignant tumors can pose serious health problems. Neurofibromatosis is a congenital condition that develops tumors around nerves within the body. A suppression of genes that prevents tumors allows cells to grow faster and in larger groups. These tumors usually do not create serious health problems for most individuals, but can create malfunctions within the body to occur. Here are the three types of neurofibromatosis and the current options available for treatment.
Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1)
Neurofibromatosis 1 is the most common diagnosis that occurs around childbirth. Symptoms can include freckles in the underarm or groin and darkened spots of skin pigmentation. Individuals may feel lumps under the skin that could be benign tumors known as neurofibromas that form on the nerves. These lumps can also be unnoticeable deeper within the body. You may notice pain, numbness or tingling as pressure is exerted on the nerves from these tumors.
Depending on where in the body these tumors develop, you can also experience issues with vision, hearing or other motor functions. Other potential symptoms of neurofibromatosis include bone abnormalities, high blood pressure, small stature, large head circumference and early or late onset of puberty.
Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2)
Neurofibromatosis 2 is a rarer diagnosis typically occurring during puberty or the early adult years. Individuals can experience the same darkened spots of pigmentation as NF1, but the number of spots are fewer. Benign tumors can also occur around the auditory nerves on one or both sides of the body, creating hearing loss and balance issues. Other symptoms can include muscle weakness, headaches, seizures, numbness, pain, difficulty swallowing, facial drooping, impaired speech and vision problems.
The rarest form of neurofibromatosis is referred to as schwannomatosis. With this condition, tumors can form on the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, but not on auditory nerves. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in adulthood, which can result in significant functional and sensory impairments.
Treatment Options for Neurofibromatosis
Treatment options for neurofibromatosis can depend on symptoms and the areas of the body that are affected. Care is typically managed by a team of specialists. The most common treatment option is surgical removal, which can alleviate and repair some symptoms and bodily functions. Outside of surgical removal, medications may be prescribed to relieve pain. In order to determine the best course of treatment, an accurate diagnosis is needed by a licensed medical professional.
A doctor can review your medical history and perform a physical examination to determine if you have neurofibromatosis. Additional tests may be necessary, which include genetic tests, imaging tests, an eye exam, hearing check and balance exams. During an initial consultation, the doctor can explain the benefits and risks involved in all available treatment options and answer any questions you may have.
Schedule a Consultation Regarding Neurofibromatosis Today
While there is no known cure for neurofibromatosis, symptoms can be managed through surgical removal to provide pain relief and improve a person’s overall quality of life. Vascular Birthmark Institute offers specialized treatment plans that can help manage pain, promote learning development and reduce sensory impacts. Schedule a consultation today.