These tumors come from the cells that form a protective sheath around the body's nerve fibers. They're usually benign and surgically removed when possible. They usually appear as a single tumor. Rarely will they develop into multiple tumors.
One of the more common forms of this tumor affects the eighth cranial nerve, which contains nerve cells important for balance and hearing. Hearing loss is a common symptom. Also known as vestibular schwannomas or acoustic neuromas, these tumors may grow on one or both sides of the brain and are potentially curable with surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery.
Schwannomas can also appear on the roots of the nerves that come off of the spinal cord.
Causes and Risk Factors
Genetic links are being investigated. However, this tumor commonly occurs in otherwise normal individuals.
Surgical removal of the tumor is one option for treatment. All options should be reviewed with a physician.