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Health Tip: Understanding Neurofibromatosis

A relatively rare disorder

(HealthDay News) -- Neurofibromatosis is a group of three genetically distinct but related disorders of the nervous system that cause tumors to grow around the nerves, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Why these tumors occur still isn't known but the disease appears to be related to genetic mutations that keep the genes from making specific proteins that control cell production.

Initial symptoms may include six or more light brown spots on the skin or freckling in the armpit or groin area.

The tumors usually are benign but in some cases, turn cancerous.

An estimated 100,000 Americans have the disease. Surgery is sometimes recommended to remove the growths.

There is no cure, but most people who have it can expect to live a normal lifespan.

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