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Study Comparing Radiation Therapy and Surgery for Acoustic Neuroma Patients Urged

Posted on: 04/30/2005

Study Comparing Radiation Therapy and Surgery for Acoustic Neuroma Patients Urged

Dr. Bradley Hennenfent, founder of the Acoustic Neuroma Foundation, urges medical doctors and researchers to conduct a comparative study between radiation therapy and surgery in treating acoustic neuroma, one of the most common forms of brain tumor.

/ - Roseville, IL, April 30, 2005 - Last month, singer John Michael Montgomery was criticized for appearing drunk and singing the National Anthem off key at a motor speedway race in Atlanta. In response, he announced to the world via his web site that he was suffering from an acoustic neuroma. Montgomery reported loss of hearing in his right ear and trouble with his balance.
Now, Dr. Bradley Hennenfent, founder of the Acoustic Neuroma Foundation, is urging medical doctors and researchers to undertake a study that compares the effectiveness of radiation therapy versus surgery for treating patients with acoustic neuroma.

"Perhaps the most important question for the acoustic neuroma patient with a small (less than 2 cm) tumor is whether to treat the tumor with Gamma Knife radiation therapy or surgery," says Dr. Hennenfent on the Acoustic Neuroma Foundation website, www.AcousticNeuromaFoundation.Org. "Patients need to know which is the best treatment with the certainty that only a randomized controlled trial can provide."

An acoustic neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor found around the auditory (hearing) nerve in the head. Acoustic neuromas occur in one out of 100,000 people and they are one of the most common types of brain tumor.

Dr. Hennenfent said a comparative study is essential considering that the risks of surgery often far outweigh those of radiation. Post-surgery problems may include death, damage or paralysis of the facial nerve, partial or total loss of hearing, ringing in the ear, infection, and bleeding. Dry eye, resulting in scarring of the cornea, and loss of vision may occur. And, with surgery there is a long recovery period. Dr. Hennenfent reports that surgery typically involves a period of weakness and unsteadiness caused initially by anesthesia and then by the surgical removal of the balance nerve, which is cut while removing the tumor. Radiation has relatively few post-treatment problems by comparison. In fact, many patients are able to return to work within days.

Acoustic neuromas are often misdiagnosed. Some of the symptoms that can be caused by an acoustic neuroma include: hearing loss, ringing in the ear, pain or pressure in the ear, a feeling of something clogging the ear, headache, dizziness, trouble with balance, facial weakness, facial pain, eyelid twitching, facial numbness or tingling.

Besides working for the Acoustic Neuroma Foundation (, Dr. Hennenfent is also a leading prostate health activist. He is the author of the new book, "Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery," as well as "The Prostatitis Syndromes." He started the web site, co-founded the Prostatitis Foundation ( and founded the Epididymitis Foundation (

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