Schwannomas are tumors of the tissue that covers the nerves and are usually noncancerous, or benign; these tumors develop from a type of cell called a Schwann cell. Even though schwannomas can occur in any nerve in the body, the most common areas include the nerves of the head and neck and those involved with moving the arms and legs. These tumors are usually slow-growing.
As with many tumors, the cause of Schwannoma tumors is unknown. Sometimes, they occur in people with certain disorders including some types of neurofibromatosis. In these cases, affected people have multiple tumors that are due to mutations in a gene.
Common signs and symptoms include:
As with many tumors, the exact cause of Schwannoma is unknown. These tumors can sometimes occur in people with certain disorders including some types of neurofibromatosis; in these cases, affected people have multiple tumors that are due to mutations in a gene.
Genetic testing is not available for many people with schwannomas since most of these tumors occur sporadically and are no cause by a genetic mutation. However, genetic testing is an option for individuals with an inherited condition that predisposes to schwannomas such as certain kinds of neurofibromatosis. Carrier testing or at-risk relatives and prenatal testing are possible if the disease-causing mutation in the family is known. In addition to a complete physical exam and medical history, the following may be ordered by your physician:
The best treatment options for schwannoma depends on several factors including the size and location of the tumor, whether the tumor is benign or malignant, and your age and overall health. Following surgery or treatment, regular follow-ups with physical exams and imaging with your physician is recommended since there is a chance that the tumor may return.