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October 2000

Of Mass and Men: Neurofibromas and Histogenesis

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(10):1257-1258. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.10.1257

I HAVE been working on the neurofibromatoses, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) in particular, for 28 years and I have never been happy calling a neurofibroma a tumor.1-4 There is something more to it than that. I often say, let's just call it a mass. Then, keying off that word, I wondered whether an editorial about a mass should be written rather by a priest. I pondered further and realized that this query is not fatuous. All too often a mass is automatically construed to be a tumor when it is not. Thus, I begin this piece by reminding colleagues that a mass is not necessarily a tumor.