Schwannoma: A schwannoma a non-cancerous nerve sheath tumor, also referred to as neurilemmoma or vestibular schwannoma. This tumor found covering the nerves and formed of Schwann cells. The Schwann cells always found outside the nerve.
However, they push the nerve inside or against some bony structure resulting in damage. Such kind of tumors grow gradually at a prolonged rate, and 99% of the cases are non-cancerous and do not cause any harm.
However, in sporadic cases, this benign tumor may also turn malignant, and such a condition known as neurofibrosarcoma.
There are various schwannoma symptoms. However, ear-related symptoms are the most common as acoustic schwannomas tend to cause damage to the nerve of the inner ear. Schwannomas aren’t only limited to the internal ear nerve and may also damage other nerves.
Symptoms of this tumor depend upon the type of nerve involved. The most common symptoms include:
- Balancing problem.
- Having difficulty while walking.
- Difficulty in hearing.
- Face getting numb and ringing in the ear.
The less common symptoms are:
- Complete numbness.
- Shooting pain (if the nerve gets damaged).
- Facial and muscular weakness.
In rare cases, schwannoma acts as a life-threatening problem, and in such exceptional cases, the person suffers from severe symptoms such as:
- Fall while walking.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Changes in vision
- Difficulty in speaking.
- Numbness on one side of the body.
- Severe paralysis and a terrible headache.
In such cases, it suggested that the person immediately shows himself to the doctor to avoid any severe complications later on. Such severe symptoms indicate that the tumor might turn malignant, so no delay should make in consulting the doctor or going to the hospital.
Several treatment options are available for this particular kind of tumor. The treatment of this rare kind of tumor depends upon the location of the tumor, size of the tumor, and the nerve involved.
The most common treatment is surgery and getting the tumor removed. Once the tumor removed, the pressure on the nerve relieved, and the person feels an instant reduction in pain.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are some of the other treatment methods use to avoid surgery. The doctor best suggests the type of treatment involved. Treatment methods of this disease aren’t secure. However, these diseases are curable as the entire tumor can remove.
Acoustic Neuroma or Vestibular Schwannoma
Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous tumor, also known as vestibular schwannoma, and developed from the lining of the acoustic nerve. The acoustic nerve is also known as the auditory nerve or the vestibular nerve.
Balancing of our body is dependent upon the vestibular nerve. At the same time, our hearing is dependent upon the auditory nerve, and any damage to these nerves may result in hearing loss or difficulty while walking—acoustic neuroma formed of Schwann cells that cover the nerve.
Like in the case of a normal schwannoma, this kind of tumor also grows gradually over time and doesn’t spread to other parts of the brain. In sporadic cases, the tumor turns malignant.
Acoustic Neuroma Symptoms
Acoustic neuroma symptoms aren’t instantaneous, and they develop gradually over time as its slow-growing tumor.
The most common symptoms, ear-related, and loss in hearing very commonly observed. In some instances, the person may also feel a particular ringing in-ear, and the ear feels as if it’s filled with water.
Whenever the tumor affects the vestibular nerve, the person suffers from dizziness, Vertigo, and has difficulty in walking. Whenever the nerve controlling sensation of the face gets damaged, then half of the face becomes numb, and sometimes the facial muscles also become weak.
In the case of big tumors, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid gets blocked, and this results in a change in eyesight and extreme headache. Acoustic neuroma isn’t a rare kind of tumor and is present in approximately 8% of the total brain tumors.
People having type II neurofibromatosis, most likely to be diagnosed with this kind of tumor. These rarely found in young children and mostly found in middle-aged people.
In the United States, approximately 3000 people are diagnosed with this problem every year.
Acoustic Neuroma Treatment
Treatment of acoustic neuroma varies and depends upon the size and location of the tumor. Only a doctor can suggest the type of treatment a person should undergo.
Surgery is the most preferred treatment option as it provides the possibility of complete removal of the tumor. In the case of small tumors, radiation therapy or chemotherapy used as surgery avoided.
Surgery has its own side effects, so doctors limit it to big tumors only. Stereotactic radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery, two common radiotherapy treatment options used for the cure of this tumor.