There are three types of neurofibromatosis – type 1 neurofibromatosis, type 2 neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis. All three of these conditions are genetic, meaning that they develop as a result of an abnormal mutation in a patient’s DNA. These mutations can be congenital (inherited from a parent), or they can be spontaneous (present at birth, but not passed down from parent to child).
Each of the neurofibromatosis types affects a different part of the body. For instance:
- In type 1 neurofibromatosis – Tumors develop on and underneath the skin and can grow individually, in small clusters or throughout the entire body; the lesions are often accompanied by small patches of discoloration on the surface of the skin.
- In type 2 neurofibromatosis – Tumors develop in the nervous system; most form inside the skull or spinal canal.
- In schwannomatosis – Tumors develop in the peripheral nerve cells. These tumors can form anywhere in the body, but they do not involve the skin or other organs.
Although most cases of neurofibromatosis are benign, types 1 and 2 can produce small tumors that can become malignant over time. In contrast, schwannomatosis never becomes cancerous.
Of all the types of neurofibromatosis, type 1 is the most common, diagnosed in one out of every 3,500 births. Type 2 is diagnosed less frequently, and schwannomatosis is even rarer. Treatment is slightly different for each of the three types.
Moffitt Cancer Center has treated patients with all types of neurological conditions, including rare and complex malignancies. Our team can expertly diagnose, monitor and treat patients with schwannomatosis, type 1 neurofibromatosis and type 2 neurofibromatosis, and no referral is required to schedule an appointment.