Benign Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors
Benign Peripheral Nerve tumors are a type of nerve tumors that affect the nerves. They can grow within them (intraneural tumors) or press the nerves (extraneural tumors).
Peripheral nerves are the nerves that link one’s spinal cord and brain to other areas of the body. Moreover, these nerves control several muscles in the body.
Because of these nerves you can blink, swallow, walk, pick up things, or perform other activities. Peripheral nerve sheath tumors that affect these nerves are of several types.
These tumors are benign that is they don’t affect other areas. Therefore, they cause damage to nerves which results in loss of control over muscle function. Therefore, if you see any unusual lump, pain, or tingling in some particular area, you need to consult your doctor.
There are several types of benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors. These include Schwannoma, Neurofibroma, Perineurioma, etc. Schwannoma displaces a nerve as it comes from one bundle (fascicle) within the main nerve. This is the most common form of such tumors.
Neurofibroma tends to form at the core of a nerve while a Perineurioma can also occur as an extraneural tumor. They can grow from inside or outside of a nerve and are rare.
When a tumor is present outside the nerve, it causes problems upon pressing the nerve. Other benign tumors develop as soft lumps of slow-growing fat cells outside nerves. These include lipomas and ganglion Cysts.
It is not exactly clear what causes a benign Peripheral Nerve tumor. However, you may also inherit it from your parents.
However, researchers are studying other risk factors that may have a link with this cancer. They are studying various risk factors like genetics, environmental factors, and certain chemicals.
Symptoms may start when the tumor directly affects the main nerve or presses the nearby nerves, tissues, or blood vessels. However, the signs and symptoms may vary from person to person.
A larger size of a tumor doesn’t always mean that you have higher symptoms. However, in general, you are more likely to cause symptoms and signs as the tumor grows.
Depending on the location of a tumor, you may develop the following signs or symptoms;
A lump under the skin
You lose function in the area of your tumor
Loss of balance or dizziness.
To pinpoint the tests, your doctor will use various tests. He/she will try to find out the location of a tumor. Various tests include;
MRI. Your doctor will prefer this method to detect a peripheral nerve tumor. This scan produces radio waves and X-rays to produce a 3D image of your nerves and soft tissues. Therefore, your doctor can find out if you have a tumor or not and the location of the tumor.
CT scan. In this method, a technician will move a scanner around your body to get a series of images. An MRI is more beneficial than a CT scan. However, your doctor may use it instead of an MRI if you cannot have it.
Electromyogram (EMG). In this test, your healthcare professional is going to place small needles in your muscles. After that, the instrument records the electrical activity in your muscles.
Nerve Conduction Study. Along with an EMG, your doctor may use this test. This test helps find out how quickly the nerves in your body transmit electrical signals to your muscles.
Tumor biopsy. To confirm and analyze a tumor more accurately, your doctor will order a biopsy. Thus, after an imaging test shows a tumor, a biopsy helps your doctor confirm it. He/she can easily analyze the tumor cells. Moreover, before a biopsy, your doctor gives you general anesthesia.
Nerve biopsy. In case your doctor suspects a progressive peripheral neuropathy, your doctor may go for a nerve biopsy.
When it comes to the treatment of a peripheral nerve tumor, your doctor has several options. Your surgeon may try to remove the entire tumor employing surgery. Besides, he/she may simply observe it if you have no severe symptoms.
Therefore, you may not need surgery if there are lesser chances of cancer becoming a malignant one. Further, if the cancer is causing no problems, then also there is no dire need to remove it.
In addition to this, your doctor may observe your tumor in some other cases as well. For instance, if the tumor is at a place where removal is difficult, at that time, your doctor will go for observation.
In observation, your doctor will perform regular checkups. He/she will do a lot of imaging tests to make sure that the tumor isn’t spreading to other parts. Thus, your doctor closely monitors the growth of the tumor.
Coping and support
When you get diagnosed with benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor, it could be frightening for you. The condition will be no different for your family.
However, you may learn to cope with the uncertainty and distress related to cancer with time. Thus, you need to follow these instructions until then;
Call on for medical support:
Various things are going to help you. For instance, the knowledge and understanding of a medical social worker, or any other mental health professional is necessary. They will help you in understanding your cancer.
Furthermore, if your child or other family member suffers from cancer, you need to ask health care professionals for advice. They will provide you with options for medical health support. This will also provide you with emotional and social support.
In addition to this, you can check various online services that will provide you support to combat cancer.
- Gain more knowledge about benign Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors to make decisionsabout control and care:
Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor. Little knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, more confidence in understanding and making decisions about treatment options will be there with you. So you should always learn more about the disease.
Ask the health care team for guidance if your child has cancer. Therefore, get more and more information for appropriately caring for the patient.
Be close to your friends and family:
A close and strong relationship with your family and friends is necessary. It will help you deal with benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor.
You need practical support, moral support from your friends and relatives. Thus, someone should be there for you to look after the family. Emotional support from them is going to matter most. Thus, a healthy and happy person will ultimately efficiently fight the disease.
Prepare for your appointment
You are likely to start making an appointment with your primary care doctor if some signs and symptoms worry you. Ask for a referral to an experienced specialist if your doctor suspects benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor.
A team of specialists typically can treat. For instance;
Tumor surgeons who have specialization in operating soft nerve tissue cancers.
Doctors who have a specialization in treating cancers with systemic medications or chemotherapy.
Pathologists diagnose the specific type of cancer by analyzing a tissue.
Rehabilitation specialists who after surgery help in the recovery of a tumor.
What you should expect from your doctor:
You will face several questions from your doctor. Thus, you should be ready to answer these. So, give more time to your doctor to address them. Your doctor may ask;
What signs and symptoms concern you more?
Have your symptoms been occasional or continuous?
When did you start to notice the symptoms?
The severity of your symptoms?
Is there anything that improves your symptoms?
Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?
Do you have any family or personal history of cancer?