What is Schwannoma Of the Brain?
Schwannomas are relatively common low-grade brain tumors (abnormal proliferation of the cells) that arise from the myelin sheath (Schwann-cells) surrounding the cranial nerves. The cranial nerves are 12 nerves that originate from the brain and transmit brain signals to the head, face, neck, and trunk to perform various functions. These nerves help to carry out various functions such as smell, vision, hearing, smiling, chewing, swallowing, sensation and maintaining balance and coordination of the body.
What is a Low-Grade Tumor?
A low-grade tumor is a tumor that did not grow rapidly and did not spread to other parts of the body.
These are rare tumors and the incidence of the schwannoma of the brain is 1.1 per 100,000 person-years. Vestibular schwannoma is the most common schwannoma of the brain.
Disease Etiology (Causes)
In most cases of brain tumors, schwannomas develop suddenly. The reason for the development of schwannoma is a fault in the production of the NF2 gene, which produces a protein in the schwannoma cell called merlin or schwannomin.
Signs and Symptoms
Schwannoma brain tumors arise from peripheral and cranial nerves, which have different functions in the body and connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. The symptoms of a schwannoma tumor will depend on the site of origin and the affected nerve. The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Loss of hearing sensation
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Pain, numbness, or weakness of face muscles
- Constant headache
- Vertigo or loss of balance
- Difficulty in balancing while walking in dark or on the uneven surface
- Hoarse voice or difficulty in Swallowing
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- The weakness of the muscles of one side of the body
The following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Imaging tests such as X-Ray, CT-scan (computerized tomography), PET-scan (Positron emission tomography) help detect the site, size, and location of the tumor.
- Tumor biopsy and histopathological examination
In early stage, surgical removal of the brain tumor is the main treatment option. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the main treatment options for advanced cases of the schwannoma brain tumors. In some asymptomatic cases, the patient is only under regular follow-up with brain and spinal cord scans and may not need treatment.
What Support can we Give for Schwannoma?
Schwannoma is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Schwannoma we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: