What is NF?
NF is a term that refers to a group of genetic conditions that cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF includes neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), and all types of schwannomatosis (SWN), including NF2-related schwannomatosis (NF2), formerly called neurofibromatosis type 2.
NF can cause:
Tumors anywhere in the body (particularly in the brain + spine)
Significant learning disorders
Hearing and vision loss
Types of NF
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1): The most common form of neurofibromatosis, NF1 affects approximately 1 in 2,500 people. Symptoms of NF1 include brown skin spots (café-au-lait spots), tumors (neurofibromas), eye findings (Lisch nodules or optic pathway gliomas), bone abnormalities and learning issues.
NF2-related schwannomatosis (NF2): NF2-SWN occurs in about 1 in 25,000 people. Findings include tumors along the hearing/balance nerve (vestibular schwannoma, sometimes referred to as acoustic neuroma) typically leading to hearing loss or deafness and balance problems. In addition, individuals with NF2-SWN may have visual issues (cataracts or other eye anomaly) and develop neurologic or functional issues related to different types of tumors in the brain and/or spinal cord.
Schwannomatosis: Schwannomatosis is the least common of the neurofibromatoses and occurs in roughly 1 in 70,000 people. Symptoms of schwannomatosis include benign tumors in many areas of the body (other than the hearing/balance nerves). These tumors often cause pain.
Although symptoms of NF are variable and may not be severe, care for individuals with NF is often complex and requires healthcare providers with NF knowledge and experience. Various types of doctors are often required to care for individuals with NF including specialists in neurology, genetics, surgery, ophthalmology, audiology and more.
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