At Orange County CyberKnife, we are more than just your cancer treatment center: we are your comprehensive resource in the battle against cancer. We are committed to helping our patients thrive both during and after the cancer treatment process, and we’ll work with you to create the best possible chance at survival and make the treatment process as pleasant an experience as possible. We firmly believe that patient education is critical to the success of treatment, so we’ve collected some of the most common questions about acoustic neuroma alongside their answers.
We hope you found this information helpful, and as always, if you still have questions about acoustic neuroma, the team at OC CyberKnife would be happy to speak with you. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment at our Orange County, CA cancer care center. Working together, we’ll help you understand your condition, choose the best treatment plan for your specific lifestyle, and beat your acoustic neuroma or cancerous condition so you can get back to living a healthy, normal lifestyle.
Also called a vestibular schwannoma, an acoustic neuroma is a benign (non cancerous) growth on the eighth cranial nerve, which connects the inner ear with the brain. While the tumor isn’t cancerous, if left alone without treatment, it may grow and put pressure on the nerve, causing a number of problems and symptoms.
Strictly speaking, acoustic neuromas aren’t exclusively hereditary – in fact, 95% of acoustic neuroma cases develop without any prior family history of the condition. That said, there is a specific heritable condition called neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), which can lead to an acoustic neuroma forming in some cases.
Researchers estimate that roughly 3.5 people out of every 100,000 develop acoustic neuroma, and 5,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. That said, these numbers are rising – not necessarily because the condition is becoming more common, but rather because of advances in MRI scanning that allow for more accurate diagnoses.
This is a good question, and while researchers still aren’t entirely sure of the exact causes of acoustic neuroma, there are a number of potential factors. Mounting evidence shows that sporadic defects in certain tumor suppressor genes may cause acoustic neuromas to form in some people, while other studies point to consistent exposure to loud noise as a risk factor. At least one study has shown a relationship between acoustic neuromas and prior exposure of the head and neck to radiation, and some scientists even suggest that handheld cell phones may be a risk.
While there are a number of potential risk factors, researchers still aren’t sure what causes acoustic neuromas exactly, and no environmental factor (like diet or cell phone use) has been concretely proven as a cause or risk factor. That said, the American Nurses Association (ANA) does recommend that frequent cell phone users use a hands-free device to keep the cell phone farther from the head.