The mission of the Acoustic Neuroma Association is to inform, educate and provide national and local support networks for those affected by neuromas, and to be an essential resource for health care professionals who treat acoustic neuroma patients. When initially diagnosed, few patients have a clear idea of where to turn in their selection of a qualified medical professional for treatment of their tumor. In October of 2001 the ANA Board of Directors adopted the following statement:
ANA recommends treatment from a medical team with substantial acoustic neuroma experience.
The ANA Board of Directors are now providing more specific guidelines for patients in selecting a qualified medical professional for the treatment of an acoustic tumor. The following criteria are recommended:
The physician must have Board eligibility or Certification in the related specialty of neurosurgery, neurotology or radiation oncology.
The physician must have received specialized training or must have significant ongoing practice experience related to acoustic neuroma treatment.
The treating physician must use a team approach for treatment, with access to a team or referrals, with the individual having access to all members of the team. Other medical professionals should be involved in the treatment plan. In the case of surgery, a neurotologic and neurosurgical team should be used. In radiosurgery, a team should consist of the radiation oncologist, neurosurgeon or neurotologist and radiation physicist. Specialists skilled in a variety of rehabilitation issues (facial reanimation, cognitive, vestibular balance, hearing, tinnitus, headache and physical therapy) should also be made available before and after treatment as needed.
The physician must have demonstrated expertise and recent experience and should be willing to share the number of cases and outcomes with the patient.
The physician should be willing to discuss all treatment modalities with the patient, i.e. surgery, radiation and observation, and be willing to explain why he/she is making the specific treatment recommendation. Additionally, the physician should allot sufficient time during the initial consultation and subsequently if need be, so that the patient feels all of his/her questions have been answered satisfactorily prior to making a decision about treatment.
The physician must demonstrate support of ANAUSA and have information about ANA available in his/her office.
The patient should feel comfortable with his/her physicians experience, demeanor, and responsiveness to his/her questions since this is a very important part of the decision-making process.