What is Neurofibromatosis? What is Neurofibromatosis? Neurofibromatosis is an incurable genetic disorder of the nervous system. It mainly affects the development of nerve cell tissues. Tumors known as neurofibromas develop on the nerves, and these can lead to other problems. A complex, often devastating set of genetic disorders with possible complications throughout the body that may also hold the genetic mystery to a host of other human ailments. Affecting approximately 1 in 2,500 people or 2 million people worldwide, it appears equally in all races, ethnic groups and both sexes. According to the Mayo Clinic, The tumors are generally non-cancerous or benign, but sometimes can turn into cancerous or malignant tumors. Symptoms are often mild. However, complications of neurofibromatosis can include hearing loss, learning impairment, heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems, loss of vision, and severe pain. How do you know you have Neurofibromatosis? A common complication for a person with Neurofibromatosis is the growth of tumors on the nerves anywhere in and on the body. There are currently several separate, distinct disorders classified as neurofibromatosis. This includes neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and schwannomatosis. Others are also being identified. What are the symptoms? According to the national genome research institute, symptoms for neurofibromatosis include: Type 1 Symptoms:
- Presence of light brown sports on the skin
- Appearance of two or more neurofibromas (pea-sized bumps/tumors) that can grow either on the nerve tissue, under the skin or on many nerve tissues
- Manifestation of freckles under the armpits or in the groin areas
- Appearance of tiny tan clumps of pigment in the iris of the eyes (Lisch nodules)
- Tumors along the optic nerve of the eye (optic glioma)
- Severe curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
- Enlargement or malformation of other bones in the skeletal system.
- Tumors along the eighth cranial nerve (schwannomas).
- Meningiomas and other brain tumors.
- Ringing noises inside the ear (tinnitus), hearing loss and/or deafness.
- Cataracts at a young age.
- Spinal tumors.
- Balance problems.
- Wasting of muscles (atrophy).
Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month - With the sheer amount of sun exposure we get here in Colorado, it’s very important to make sure you are always wearing your sunscreen! And here is why. Facts & Figures: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:
- More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available.
- More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
- Actinic keratosis is the most common pre cancer, affecting more than 58 million Americans.
- The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for nonmelanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Avoid getting a sunburn at all costs.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
Each year, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States and the number of diagnosed cases continue to rise. Treatment has increased by nearly 77% over the past three decades and more people are becoming aware of the impact of skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are types of skin cancers that start in the basal cells or squamous cells of the skin, which is how they get their names. These cells are found in the outer layer of the skin. Most basal and squamous cell cancers develop on sun-exposed areas of the skin, like the face, ears, neck, lips, and the backs of the hands. Basal cell cancers grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Squamous cell cancers are more likely to grow into deeper layers of skin and to spread, although this is still not common. Both basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early – when they are small and have not spread. But either type can cause problems if it is left untreated. Melanoma, the form of cancer we hear about most in the news, is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes – the cells that make the brown skin pigment known as melanin, which gives the skin its color. Melanin helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Melanoma can start on nearly any part of the skin, even in places that are not normally exposed to the sun, such as the genital or anal areas. It can also start in other parts of the body, such as in the eyes or mouth. Melanoma is almost always curable when it’s found in its very early stages. Although melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancers, it’s much more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body, where it can be hard to treat. Because of this, melanoma causes most skin cancer deaths, accounting for nearly 10,000 of the more than 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year. Skin cancer can be found early, and both people and their doctors play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any concerns about your skin and the possibility of an abnormality on your skin, contact your doctor right away.
Studies have found, many living with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, are twice as likely to become depressed as the rest of the population. Physicians believe the biological changes that cause psoriasis may also cause depression, and the visible symptoms associated are often additional triggers for depression as well. Depression can have a significant impact on quality of life. It's important to look out for symptoms of depression and seek treatment if you’re dealing with psoriasis. If you have any of the following symptoms, discuss them with your doctor:
- Problems sleeping
- Feeling like you cannot get out of bed
- Low or loss of energy
- Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Problems focusing