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What Is Neurofibromatosis? Understand Your Disease

Battling cancer begins with being armed with essential information about the disease.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic neurological disease that affects the growth and development of nerve cell tissue. Tumors called neurofibromas can develop anywhere in the nervous system and impact the skin, brain, spinal cord, and nerves. While most neurofibromatosis tumors are benign, they can pose serious health risks such as paralysis, hearing loss, and learning impairment. In about 10 percent of cases, neurofibromas become malignant cancers.

Types of Neurofibromatosis We Treat at New Hope

Medical scientists classify NF into three distinct types:

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)

NF1 patients experience changes in skin coloring (pigmentation), including tumorous growths along the nerves of the brain, skin, and other areas of the body.

Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)

NF2 is less common than NF1. It causes benign (noncancerous) tumors to grow on nerves in the brain and spinal cord.


Sometimes, NF2 can lead to schwannomatosis, a recently discovered type of neurofibromatosis. This rare disease prompts the growth of tumors called schwannomas in other nerves of the body, which includes the spinal, cranial, visual, and peripheral nerves.

Signs of Neurofibromatosis

Each of the three types of NF has different symptoms and signs.

The symptoms of neurofibromatosis type 1 are:

  • Flat, light-brown colored spots on the skin (cafe au lait spots)
  • Bumps on or under the skin (neurofibromas)
  • Small bumps on iris (Lisch nodules)
  • A mass or tumor on the optic nerve (optic glioma)
  • Freckling in the armpit or groin area
  • Skeletal or spinal abnormalities such as scoliosis
  • A larger than average head size
  • Higher rates of epilepsy and ADHD
  • Learning disabilities

The signs of neurofibromatosis type 2 are:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Gradual hearing loss
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Wasting of muscles (atrophy)
  • Cataract formation

Schwannomatosis symptoms include:

  • Lumps or swollen areas under the skin
  • Weakness and numbing of the arms or legs
  • Regular headaches
  • Difficulties with balance
  • Changes in vision

Take note that these symptoms do not always suggest neurofibromatosis. It is best to consult your doctor to receive immediate treatment for any health concerns.

Neurofibromatosis Causes

Genetic mutations, which are passed on by a parent or occur spontaneously at conception, cause neurofibromatosis. Any child of a parent with NF1 or NF2 has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. In the case of schwannomatosis, the hereditary risk factor is less clear. Medical researchers estimate that the likelihood of inheriting schwannomatosis from an affected parent is about 15 percent.

Detection and Diagnosis

Early detection is crucial for patients whose tumors pose serious health risks. To diagnose neurofibromatosis, your doctor will begin with a complete physical examination and review of your medical history and family medical history. Your doctor might also recommend an eye exam to detect Lisch nodules and cataracts, as well as ear exams (audiometry, electronystagmography, and brainstem auditory evoked responses) to assess hearing and balance problems.

Further tests usually include x-rays, computed tomography scans, and magnetic resonance imaging scan to help identify bone deformities, optic gliomas, and tumors in the brain or spinal cord. Imaging tests are also useful in monitoring NF2 and schwannomatosis.

Neurofibromatosis Alternative Treatments at New Hope

A neurofibromatosis patient can face many complications, stressing the need to receive treatment and care from experts who can handle all medical challenges. Click Here to understand how our combination of alternative and conventional treatment programs help reverse neurofibromatosis symptoms and restore the body’s cancer-free condition.

Our Promise

  • Advanced Cancer Treatments
  • Top-Rated Physicians
  • Personal Care
  • Patient Satisfaction

Our Top-of-the-Line Medical Facilities

At New Hope Unlimited, we pride ourselves in providing superior comfort, cleanliness, and cancer care at our 8,000 square foot medical treatment center in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. We worked with renowned architects and contractors to create the ideal space for recovery, which includes state-of-the-art lounge areas and spacious private in-rooms that assure the comfort of our patients and their loved ones.

To make our patients feel right at home, each private ward is equipped with high-definition U.S. television, quality bedding, and high-speed internet connection. And with proper nutrition playing a vital role in cancer recovery, New Hope Unlimited also fulfills the dietary needs of each patient using fresh, organic produce to prepare breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners.

Comfort and cleanliness are also strictly implemented in our medical treatment rooms, which are equipped with the latest medical supplies and technology to provide the highest standard of care and treatment. Our medical center also has an in-house Hyperbaric Chamber, a well-established therapy for decompression sickness, exclusively available for our patients’ use.

Further, New Hope Unlimited has maintained its exceptional partnership with Hospital Migoo, a medical group comprised of certified physicians and specialists committed to our patients’ care and well-being.


1. What specific treatments does New Hope offer?

Click here to learn about our combination of conventional, alternative, and holistic therapies for neurofibromatosis.

2. Is neurofibromatosis preventable?

Unfortunately, NF is unavoidable. People with a family history of the disease may choose to undergo genetic testing to determine if they are at risk for transmitting NF to their future children.

3. Does proper nutrition play a role in successful neurofibromatosis therapy?

Absolutely. Neurofibromatosis is a wasting disease, and almost half of cancer patients succumb to malnutrition. At New Hope, our comprehensive treatments for NF include nutrient supplementation and detoxification (among others) to help your body combat life-threatening diseases and immune disorders.


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