A nerve sheath tumor is a type of soft tissue sarcoma that is found on the nerves which transmit signals to the brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body. A nerve sheath tumor will originate from the affected nerve but can be attributed to disorders such as neurofibromatosis. The peripheral nerves i.e. motor, sensory and autonomic nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system which provides for bodily functions. Nerve sheath tumors can either be malignant or benign, with the latter being more predominant than the former. In cases of benign nerve sheath tumors, since they do not pose an immediate health risk, it is best if they are left alone. Nevertheless, depending on their nature, it could be a grave mistake not having them removed as soon as possible. Malignant nerve sheath tumors should be treated immediately because they are life-threatening and progress at a really fast rate.
How To Prevent Nerve Sheath Tumor?
There are no medically approved ways of preventing nerve sheath tumors, but prevention can be offered in the aspect of the progression of the tumors and their relapsing after treatment. They are usually treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to control the growth of the tumor, and surgery to completely eradicate the tumor. A combination of these treatment options can also be administered for greater benefits and a higher chance of success in treating the cancer. To offer temporary relief to a patient from symptoms of the condition, embolization can be used as well as to reduce blood loss during surgery. After treatment, post-operative care is necessary so as to constantly monitor the patient on their healing progress and the absence of the tumors.
As earlier mentioned, benign nerve sheath tumors are more common than malignant ones. Therefore, in most cases, the tumors grow at a slow rate and medical intervention is offered once the growths start to cause complications. They usually cause discomfort and tingling or numbness, severe growing pain, and weakness. Nerve sheath tumors also affect the body’s normal activities depending on which nerve is the root of the problem. A recovering patient of a nerve sheath tumor needs to have frequent medical checkups. During these checkups, the doctor will screen your body for any signs of growths since this kind of tumors have a high potential of metastasizing and high probability of relapsing.
Deciding To Have A Nerve Sheath Tumor Removed
In cases of aggressive malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, it is best if the tumor is removed without delay. This is simply because a malignant form of nerve sheath tumors develop at a rapid rate and also metastasize fast. On the other hand, benign nerve sheath tumors are low-grade and may take a long time before causing any serious complications. Some doctors will advise that the tumor should be left alone while others will insist on having the tumor removed as soon as possible. As much as a benign nerve sheath tumor will not cause any major complications at the beginning, you should be aware that there are risks associated with leaving it intact. These risks include; continued growth into larger tumors, chance of becoming malignant, causing neurological symptoms, and diminishing the quality of your life. To avoid these risks from actually becoming a reality, tumors affecting the nervous system in one way or the other should be removed.
Nerve sheath tumors cannot be prevented from occurring in the first place, especially if they develop sporadically. Once you have such a tumor, the only way to prevent its progression to dangerous levels is by having it removed promptly. If the tumor has been surgically removed, a recurrence of the tumor can be prevented by constantly monitoring the patient for any symptoms of relapse. It is therefore important that a patient recovering from a nerve sheath tumor should visit the doctor regularly for frequent medical checkups. In an instance where the diagnosis of the tumor is inconclusive, it is crucial that treatment is still offered with urgency rather than leaving it behind.