Acoustic neuroma is a rare benign (non-cancerous) brain tumour (in fact, brain tumours occur relatively rarely). According to various studies, acoustic neuroma is diagnosed in 20 out of every million population each year. Acoustic neuroma occurs more commonly in women than in men and often affects older adults (between 40 and 60 years). It is a relatively rare condition in children. The tumour arises from the sheath surrounding the eighth cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear' nerve, the nerve that helps you to hear and maintain balance of posture). A person with any kind of tumour, who wants to know the prognosis (their chance of recovery or recurrence),. Understanding prognosis and what the future holds for an infect person, helps the patient and the family to handle the disease and live with it better. Here is how one can know his or her prognosis of acoustic neuroma.
Prognosis of acoustic neuroma
- An acoustic neuroma is a slow growing benign tumour, which does not spread beyond the original site of the tumour. In some people, the tumour may be too tiny and slow in growth that no symptoms or problems surface.
- It is usually not a life-threatening condition, but the symptoms can be severe and problematic and thereby may disrupt an individual’s day-to-day life; for instance, loss of hearing may affect your ability to communicate with other people (may affect your job) or vertigo may make movement and balancing of posture difficult (this may affect your job and other activities). These symptoms can be challenging and may affect your quality of life.
- Hearing loss is a common symptom of acoustic neuroma. It is usually subtle, but worsens as a treatment is delayed.. Hearing loss that occurs before treatment is permanent and does not return after the tumour is removed. Your doctor can suggest hearing aids for the treatment of hearing loss.
- Rarely, does the tumour grow large enough to press on critical brain structures (such as the brain stem or cerebellum). In most people, acoustic neuroma is diagnosed and treated well before they get to the advanced stages. Seldom does the tumour reappear after treatment (rate of recurrence is less than 5 in every 100 people).
- A rare and serious complication of acoustic neuroma is a condition known as hydrocephalus. A large tumour may press on the brainstem (the lowest part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord). This causes disruption in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) between your brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid around the brain and spinal cord that protects your brain and spinal cord. This blockage results in increase of pressure inside your skull, which can compress and affect the delicate tissues in your brain. If the rise in pressure is severe, it can cause brain damage or turn fatal. Your doctor will treat it by draining away the excess CSF.