The Role of ENTs in the AN world
Usually, an ENT (ear/nose/throat) specialist is the one to diagnose an Acoustic Neuroma and to refer a patient for treatment. As the diagnosing physicians, the ENTs are in a unique and valuable position in cases of AN, playing a key role in determining what happens to the patient. The AN patient story found here illustrates how important that role can be.
It would be wonderful for us patients if ENTs were kept fully informed and updated about ANs and their treatment options. Here are some of the facts they should all know:
The latest medical consensus is that ANs are not medical emergencies; emergency surgery is practically never appropriate, especially when the tumor is small and slow-growing and the symptoms are considered minor.
Over and over, research confirms the steep learning curve for this "queen of brain surgeries"; an ENT should not be referring a patient to a surgeon who considers ANs "rare".
It is recognized nowadays that all AN patients should have a chance to consult with providers of various AN treatment options (rather than just surgery or indeed just radiosurgery), so their treatment decision, if any, is made on an informed basis.
The material that is offered in the AN Archive serves those patients who make the effort to learn about their condition and its treatments. Unfortunately, there will always be patients who do not get actively involved on their own behalf, for whatever reason. For them, informed advice and proper referrals from their diagnosing physician are crucial.
We hope that the ENT community will continue to improve their service to AN patients. But the AN patients themselves can help it happen, by educating their own ENTs when the occasion arises. Here is patient testimony (April 2002):
I decided to bring in to my ENT doctor a file of information about treatment options that I got from the AN Archive. My doctor was sweet enough to ask if he could have copies of the pieces I had brought for him to see and told me that I had become more of an expert than him. He seemed very interested in knowing about FSR and Gamma knife. I hope this helps him deal with his AN patients in the future.
Kenneth Carpenter had a similar experience in 1999 when he compiled a booklet for his ENT based on the materials he found. His story is in the AN Archive; his booklet is also available.© Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002