Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. You will see it referred to both as tuberous sclerosis (TS) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The term TSC is used in scientific literature to distinguish tuberous sclerosis from Tourette's syndrome.
The true prevalence of TSC is unknown, but its incidence has recently been estimated to be 1 in 6,000 live births. This means approximately 50,000 individuals in the United States and more than 1 million worldwide have TSC. It occurs in both sexes and in all races and ethnic groups.
Because TSC is a genetic disorder, it is not contagious. It is the result of a genetic mutation over which a parent has no control. It is often first recognized in children who have two neurological symptoms—epileptic seizures and/or varying degrees of mental handicap. However, the clinical symptoms of TSC vary greatly and may often not appear until later in life. There are presently no cures and there is no way to predict how severely or mildly an individual may be affected by TSC.