Neurofibromatosis symptoms can vary from patient to patient, even among individuals who carry the same genetic mutation. Some people are completely unaware that they have the condition, experiencing little more than a few small, cosmetic spots on their skin. Other patients experience more serious complications that require medications, surgery, radiation therapy or behavioral therapies.
The two most common symptoms of neurofibromatosis are small, light brown patches on the skin (often referred to as café-au-lait spots) and small, painless tumors known as neurofibromas. The trademark café-au-lait spots often appear shortly after birth, while tumors usually appear later in childhood.
Other symptoms can develop as the condition progresses, and patients may experience several of these complications or none at all. Additional symptoms associated with neurofibromatosis include:
- ADHD, speech delays and other learning disabilities
- Brain tumors
- Growth disorders (many people with neurofibromatosis are significantly shorter in stature than would be expected based on the height of family members)
- Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
- Macrocephaly (enlargement of the head)
- Optic pathway gliomas (small tumors in or near the optic nerve that can cause vision loss in one or both eyes)
- Orbital and tibial dysplasias (rare bone malformations that are typically present at birth)
- Pain that travels along the path of an affected nerve
- Vascular complications
Individuals who are experiencing any of these symptoms can turn to Moffitt Cancer Center for prompt medical attention and diagnostic services. Our team has notable experience in treating patients with neurofibromatosis; we can address physical tumors as well as any neurological complications that arise. And, although neurofibromatosis is usually noncancerous, our oncologists can provide long-term monitoring for signs of cancer and individualized treatment plans if cancer develops.
For more information about neurofibromatosis symptoms or to request an appointment with a member of our team, call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required to schedule a visit.