Nerve Tumors

Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor -- Credit: Copyright Nephron. GNU Free Documentation License

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor

Peripheral nerves are the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord. Tumors can develop from the cells that make up a nerve. These tumors usually develop randomly, but occasionally they are caused by a health condition or syndrome, such as neurofibromatosis (type 1 and type 2). 

Peripheral nerve tumors generally grow slowly and may be noticed as a rubbery lump somewhere in the body. At times they can be more problematic, interfering with normal activities, causing numbness, tingling or even pain and weakness. When these tumors become problematic, it is worthwhile to consider having them removed. Removal of these tumors can usually be performed without destroying the nerve. Usually the tumor can be peeled out of the nerve itself without harming the nerve's function.

In rare cases, these tumors are cancerous. Cancerous peripheral nerve tumors are more problematic, painful and grow rapidly.  If there is any question about whether or not a tumor is cancerous, it is important to get a needle biopsy or special study done to be sure. If the tumor is believed to be     cancerous, surgery is performed to remove all of the tumor including a large portion of the nerve it came from. Nerve function, which may be lost with the removal of the tumor, can later be improved with the use of nerve transfers.

For information on treatment for peripheral nerve tumors in the brain, see the Brain Tumor Center.

Contact the peripheral nerve tumor experts. Call 858-246-0674.