Advanced Breast Cancer: Learn about treatment options.

Acoustic Neuroma

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

An acoustic neuroma (AN) is a slow growing tumor that forms on the nerves of your ear. The nerves help control your balance and hearing. ANs normally only occur on one side.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • Your symptoms may get worse even with treatment. Radiation treatments may cause your brain to bleed or swell. Surgery may cause bleeding, pain, or a scar. Fluid from your brain may leak out of your surgery site or from your nose. You may get an infection at the surgery site, or in your brain. Your AN may not go away completely or may return.

  • Without treatment, your tumor may continue to grow and damage your nerves and other areas of your brain. The tumor may press against nerves and cause facial numbness, weakness, or twitching. You may lose your hearing, ability to keep your balance, or ability to walk. The tumor may grow and cause fluid to build up around your brain. Your tumor may press against areas of your brain, and you may have a stroke. This can be life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics prevent or fight an infection caused by bacteria. You may need antibiotic medicine before, during, and after treatment.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

Tests:

  • Audiometry testing: This hearing test checks how sensitive your ears are to sounds at different volumes. The hearing tests may include pure-tone audiometry and speech discrimination tests. These tests may check your type of hearing loss, and how much hearing you have lost. You may need audiometry testing before and after your treatment. Ask your caregiver for more information about audiometry testing.

  • Electronystagmography: This is a test done to check if the tumor is on your vestibular nerve before treatment.

  • CT scan: A special x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your brain. The scan may show if your acoustic neuroma is pressing on any brain tissue or nerves. A CT scan also may be needed to help your caregiver plan your treatment. You may be given dye to help caregivers see the pictures better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell the caregiver if you are allergic to shellfish, or have other allergies or medical conditions.

  • MRI: Pictures are taken of your brain and to help your caregiver plan your treatment. You will need to lie still during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with any metal objects. This can cause serious injury. Tell your caregiver if you have any metal implants in your body.

Treatments:

  • Radiation: You may need radiation to shrink or destroy your tumor. Radiation is commonly done for small to medium sized tumors. Radiosurgery is a single treatment that directs high doses of radiation at the tumor to destroy it. You may also have radiation therapy where the dose of radiation is divided into many treatments.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be needed if your tumor is large or pressing against your brain tissues. There are 3 different surgeries that can be done to remove your tumor. The surgery you have done will depend on the size and location of your tumor. Your level of hearing loss will also help decide which surgery is best for you. Radiation therapy may be done after your surgery to destroy any remaining tumor cells. Ask your caregiver for more information about the surgeries done to remove an acoustic neuroma.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Acoustic Neuroma (Inpatient Care)

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