Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes small tumors to develop in several different locations, including the brain, spinal cord and nerve cells. These tumors are almost always benign (noncancerous), although certain kinds have the potential to develop into malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.
Neurofibromatosis tumors are often accompanied by small, flat, light brown spots on the surface of the skin. The tumors and skin spots most commonly appear during childhood or adolescence, although some individuals with neurofibromatosis do not experience any warning signs until adulthood.
While the tumors and skin spots caused by neurofibromatosis do not always cause symptoms, neurological complications such as eyesight and hearing difficulties may develop as the condition progresses. Depending on the symptoms that a patient experiences, treatment may include a combination of one or more different therapies.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive, multispecialty approach to treating neurofibromatosis. For instance:
- Our surgical oncologists and neurosurgeons use advanced, minimally invasive techniques to remove neurofibromas with the highest level of precision – even from difficult-to-access locations near nerve pathways.
- Our medical oncologists and radiation oncologists design individualized nonsurgical treatment plans that may include combinations of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as novel options such as targeted therapy.
- Our supportive care specialists provide medications and other therapies to ensure the greatest degree of comfort for our patients. For a younger patient, our team can also help his or her parents develop action plans with teachers, psychologists and other key professionals.
Individuals who turn to Moffitt for neurofibromatosis treatment are able to work with some of the field’s top oncologists and genetic researchers. This, in turn, helps us produce patient outcomes that routinely exceed expectations, as well as an enhanced quality of life for each patient we treat.