Acoustic Neuroma

Cancer Treatment Centers in Phoenix, AZ

As a premier cancer treatment facility in Phoenix, AZ, we’re proud to provide world-class cancer treatment to patients in our six state-of-the-art cancer treatment centers. We strive to take a compassionate approach to cancer care, designing personalized, comprehensive treatments while providing the support you need to thrive during treatment. While we specialize in advanced radiation therapy for cancer treatment, we can also treat some non-cancerous conditions, including acoustic neuroma.

About Acoustic Neuromas

Acoustic neuroma, also called vestibular schwannoma, is a name for a non-cancerous growth near the eighth cranial nerve, which connects the ear to the brain. The eighth nerve is responsible for sending both sound and balance information from the ear to the brain, and it’s directly next to the seventh cranial nerve, which controls the facial muscles. Acoustic neuromas grow out of the sheath surrounding the eighth nerve within the internal auditory canal, a bony passageway leading from the ear to the brain.

While non-cancerous in nature, acoustic neuromas can still cause a variety of problems if left untreated. Acoustic neuromas grow slowly, often for years, and while their symptoms are undetectably mild at first, they can eventually interfere with critical vital functions and even prove fatal. As the tumor grows larger, it puts more pressure on the eighth nerve, and with enough time it can grow out of the auditory canal and into the brain cavity, where it may place pressure directly on the brain. Large tumors may also put pressure on the trigeminal nerve, producing unusual facial sensations, and if the tumor pushes directly on the brain, it may start to threaten critical functions of the body.

How are Acoustic Neuromas Diagnosed?

While early-stage acoustic neuromas used to be virtually undetectable, today, we can use a variety of techniques to detect and diagnose acoustic neuromas even quite early on. We  may use any one of a series of tests to diagnose acoustic neuroma, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), auditory brainstem response (ABR), or a computerized tomography (CT) scan in the area of the tumor. Generally, an MRI is the preferred method of diagnosis. Using an MRI with contrast, we can reliably detect tumors that are only a few millimeters across, letting us begin treatment before symptoms begin disrupting the patient’s daily life.

Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuromas are often difficult to detect, as the early symptoms are easy to ignore or attribute to normal problems from aging. The most common initial symptom is a reduction in hearing in one ear, with a common accompanying symptom being ringing in the ear (tinnitus). The hearing loss will usually worsen over time as the tumor grows, although sometimes the loss can be quite sudden, and some patients will experience a feeling of fullness in the ear. These symptoms are often mistaken for normal age-related hearing loss, which can delay diagnosis and allow the tumor to grow larger before detection.

As the tumor grows, it can start to affect balance information being sent to the brain. This can produce a variety of symptoms including unsteadiness, vertigo, or general balance problems. In some cases, however, the body can compensate for these issues, so the patient may not experience any issues with their balance. Larger, later-stage tumors may start pressing on the trigeminal nerve, which can cause numbness or tingling in the face, and as the tumor grows out of the auditory canal and pushed on the brain, patients may experience headaches, clumsiness, or general confusion. For the largest tumors, which can press on the cerebellum and brainstem, patients may start to experience life-threatening disruptions to vital body functions and require immediate, emergency treatment.

Contact Your Phoenix, AZ Cancer Treatment Specialists

At Palo Verde Cancer Specialists, we can use a variety of treatment methods to eliminate acoustic neuromas, helping patients restore normal function of the ear and balance systems. As a premier cancer treatment center specializing in radiation therapy, we offer comprehensive, convenient cancer treatments that effectively treat cancer while causing minimal disruption to our patients’ lifestyles. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with acoustic neuroma or a cancerous condition, the treatment team at Palo Verde Cancer Specialists would be thrilled to help. Reach out to us at our contact page to learn more about our six cancer care facilities and the treatments we offer, and if you’d like to schedule an appointment for a consultation or second opinion, we encourage you to request one using our easy online form. We hope to hear from you soon, and we look forward to helping you reclaim a healthy, normal life – no matter what you’re up against.

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