An acoustic neuroma, known as a vestibular schwannoma, is a benign (noncancerous) growth that arises on the eighth cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear.
Although there is an heritable condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) which can lead to acoustic neuroma formation in some people, most acoustic neuromas occur spontaneously without any evidence of family history (95%).
Most recent publications suggest that the incidence of acoustic neuromas is rising. This is because of advances in MRI scanning both on incidental scans and for patients experiencing symptoms. It is estimated that the instances of acoustic neuroma are 3.5 in every 100,000 and more than 5,000 diagnosed annually in the US.
There is a growing body of evidence that sporadic defects in tumor suppressor genes may give rise to these tumors in some individuals. Other studies have hinted at exposure to loud noise on a consistent basis. One study has shown a relationship of acoustic neuromas to prior exposure to head and neck radiation, and a concomitant history of having had a parathyroid adenoma (tumor found in proximity to the thyroid gland controlling calcium metabolism). There are even controversies on handheld cell phones. It remains to be seen whether or not the radiofrequency radiation has anything to do with acoustic neuroma formation. To date, no environmental factor (such as cell phones and diet) has been scientifically proven to cause these tumors. ANA does recommend that frequent cell phone users use a handsfree device to enable separation of the device from the head.
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The first step with acoustic neuroma is to get a proper diagnosis. After that, we can start to pursue Palmer acoustic neuroma treatment. We have a number of state-of-the-art solutions available at Mat-Su Valley Comprehensive Cancer Center. To learn more about how we might be able to help with acoustic neuromas, contact us at 907-707-1333.