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What Is An Acoustic Neuroma (AN)? 

The Facts...

  • Also known as Vestibular Schwannoma

  • Rare Benign Tumor

  • Two Types of AN's: Unilateral (non- hereditary) and Bilateral (hereditary)

  • May result in complete hearing loss, facial paralysis and balance issues

  • Most take years to diagnose after forming

  • AN's account for 6%-10% of all intracranial tumors

  • The brain is not invaded by the AN tumor, but the tumor pushes the brain as it enlarges, which can become life threatening

  • Roughly 10 in 1,000,000 people are diagnosed in the US per year (translates to nearly 3,000 per year)

  • AN causes are still not well understood

95% of acoustic neuromas are non-hereditary, why 5% are hereditary.  The cause of Acoustic Neuromas are still not well understood, but research is finding that the incidence of AN's are rising.  Some case studies have found that the tumor develops from over production of Schwann cells but for the 95% of non-hereditary cases they do not know if years of environmental or radiation exposure could be a related factor. 

Research has found that the majority of AN’s are slow growing over a period of years.  But there are those tumors that are more aggressive, and patients develop symptoms faster.  Symptoms for these types of tumor vary; some are mild why some come on very rapidly.  Usually, this is all dependent on the rate of tumor growth. Yearly MRI scans can help to monitor any type of growth (UTHSC, 2017).