The choice about treatment is a very personal one. There are a lot of people who opt to "watch-and-wait" with small, asymptomatic ANs. The problem with treatments (radiation or surgery) is that they can sometimes create problems that weren't there before. When I was first diagnosed, I was very happy to be a watch-and-wait patient, and my AN was 1.5cm at the time. But my only symptom was almost complete hearing loss on that side, and treatment wouldn't do anything to bring that back. Unfortunately, I had a rare fast-growing AN - after a year, my AN was 2.3cm (using the same MRI machine, being read by the same doctors) and pressing on my brainstem. So I had to take action. (The pathology report confirmed an unusual quality to the schwann cells and they were dividing quickly, but it was definitely an AN.)
If you can, find a doctor (ENT or neurologist) who specialized in ANs - an experienced doctor will have treated hundreds of patients. You are not in a big rush - take your time and make a decision that you're comfortable with. Even if you decide to wait, you'll still be getting frequent MRIs (my doctor wanted them every 6 months) to monitor the AN. If something changes, you'll have the information to make a decision at that point.
After you have your MRI w/ contrast, get copies of the films. You can then send those to other doctors who will do free phone consultations. The House Clinic in LA is well known for this (and I assume they talk with international patients).
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