How Does Neurofibromatosis Affect the Body?

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that is typically diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood. This disorder can cause tumors to develop in the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and nerves. In most cases, these tumors are benign and slow-growing. However, it is possible for these tumors to be cancerous. There are three different types of neurofibromatosis, and each one can affect the body in different ways.

Symptoms associated with each type of neurofibromatosis

Each type of neurofibromatosis can cause tumors to develop in specific areas that result in a specific set of symptoms. The three types of neurofibromatosis and their associated symptoms are:

  • Neurofibromatosis 1 – This type of neurofibromatosis typically affects children and can cause brown spots on the skin, freckling in the armpits or groin and small bumps under the skin. Additionally, children with this condition may develop a tumor on the optic nerve that affects vision, small bumps on the iris of the eye and skeletal abnormalities like scoliosis.
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 – Neurofibromatosis 2 can cause acoustic neuromas, which can result in trouble with balance or walking, dizziness and headaches, hearing problems, weakness in the face, numbness or pain and ringing in the ears.
  • Schwannomatosis – This is the least common type of neurofibromatosis and typically causes tumors to develop in the brain and on certain nerves. Schwannomatosis can cause chronic pain, muscle loss, numbness and weakness throughout the body.

Treatment for neurofibromatosis

If you are experiencing symptoms of neurofibromatosis, it is important to seek treatment from a provider that has a high level of experience diagnosing and treating this unique condition. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a wide range of treatment options for patients with neurofibromatosis. To discuss your neurofibromatosis symptoms and treatment options with a Moffitt physician, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. We welcome patients with or without a referral.