Other Ways to Manage Vestibular Schwannoma
An alternative to conventional surgery in the treatment for vestibular schwannoma is radiosurgery (that is, radiation therapy -- the "gamma knife" or LINAC). People with vestibular schwannoma may also receive radiation therapy to reduce the size or limit the growth of the tumor. Radiation therapy is sometimes the preferred treatment for vestibular schwannoma in cases involving:
- Elderly patients
- Patients in poor medical heath
- Patients with bilateral acoustic neuroma (tumors affecting both ears)
- Patients whose tumor is affecting their only hearing ear.
In some cases, usually with elderly or medically infirm patients, it may be reasonable to "watch" the tumor for growth. This form of treatment for vestibular schwannoma is called watchful waiting. Doctors use repeat MRIs over time to carefully monitor the tumor for any growth.
Many people with vestibular schwannoma want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care. They want to learn all they can about the tumor and their treatment choices for vestibular schwannoma. However, some people find it hard to remember all of the questions they wish to ask the doctor. It often helps to make a list of vestibular schwannoma questions before an appointment.
To help remember what the doctor says, people may take notes or ask whether they may use a tape recorder. Some people also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.