Schwannoma, also known as neurinoma or neurilemoma, is a type of benign tumor that affects Schwann cells, which are located in the peripheral nervous system.
The presence of this type of tumor usually does not lead to signs or symptoms, however when it compresses a nerve, it can cause symptoms according to its location, with hearing loss, dizziness, pain when speaking, digestive problems and pain and tingling in one of the members, for example.
The treatment for Schwannoma is indicated in cases where there are symptoms, being usually indicated by the doctor the removal through surgery. In cases where surgery is not possible, chemotherapy or radiotherapy sessions may be indicated.
In most cases, Schwannoma does not lead to the appearance of signs or symptoms, however when there is nerve compression, it can lead to the development of symptoms according to the location in which it is present. Thus, the main symptoms of Schwannoma are:
- Auditory nerve (acoustic) compression: progressive deafness in one ear, dizziness, dizziness, loss of balance, ear pain;
- Trigeminal nerve compression: severe pain when talking, eating, or drinking, numbness or facial paralysis;
- In the spinal canal: weakness, digestive problems and difficulty controlling the sphincters;
- In the limbs: pain, weakness and tingling.
In the presence of signs and symptoms that may be indicative of Schwannoma, it is important to consult a neurologist or general practitioner for an assessment of symptoms and tests such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, electromyogram and/or biopsy.
The causes of Schwannoma are still unknown, however it is believed to be related to genetics. In addition, the occurrence of this type of tumor is more common to happen in people with neurofibromatosis, which is an inherited disease caused by the abnormal growth of nervous tissue, resulting in the formation of small nodules and tumors. Learn more about neurofibromatosis.
How is the treatment done
In most cases, Schwannoma does not need treatment, especially when there are no symptoms, as it corresponds to a benign tumor. However, if the compression of a nerve by this tumor is verified, which leads to the occurrence of symptoms, surgery to remove it may be indicated, followed by a biopsy.
If the presence of features indicative of malignancy is observed in the biopsy, which is rare, radiotherapy may be recommended afterwards.
In cases where the Schwannoma is large, the doctor may indicate chemotherapy before the surgery to promote a reduction in its size and, thus, be possible to perform the removal. In addition, in cases where the location of the benign tumor is difficult and surgery represents a risk, the physician may also recommend radiotherapy.