Radiation therapy can be used as a treatment for certain neurofibromatosis complications, such as optic nerve gliomas (tumors that develop in the eyes), acoustic neuromas (tumors that develop in the inner ears) and peripheral nerve sheath tumors (malignant tumors that develop in other parts of the body). Sometimes, radiation therapy can be used to shrink neurofibromas, although these noncancerous tumors are usually left untreated unless they are particularly large or painful.
When recommending radiation therapy for a patient who is diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a physician will consider several different factors, such as:
- Whether the tumor has developed on the surface of or underneath the skin (when radiation therapy is used to treat traditional neurofibromas)
- Whether the tumor is located on or next to a nerve pathway (when radiation therapy is used to treat plexiform neurofibromas)
- Whether the tumor has already been treated with a course of radiation therapy and, if so, how the tumor responded
At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients can access a complete range of radiation therapy options. Our radiation oncologists have notable experience in treating patients with neurofibromatosis (type 1, type 2 and schwannomatosis) and have many advanced tools at their disposal. We use highly precise radiation delivery techniques, such as stereotactic radiosurgery, to minimize radiation exposure to healthy tissue near a targeted area. This is especially important when treating neurological conditions, such as neurofibromatosis. And, to ensure the highest quality of life for our patients, we have a dedicated supportive care team available to help manage any side effects that occur.