What is Meningioma
Meningioma is a tumor that occurs in the thin tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord (meninges).
Meningiomas are usually not cancerous (benign) and do not spread to other areas. In rare cases, a meningioma may become cancerous (malignant).
What are the causes?
In many cases, the cause of this condition is not known. In some cases, meningioma may be caused by:
- Having a genetic disorder that causes multiple soft tumors (neurofibromatosis 2).
- A change in certain genes (genetic mutation).
What increases the risk?
You are more likely to develop this condition if:
- You have been exposed to radiation.
- You are an older woman. Older women have a higher risk of meningiomas than men or children. However, men have a higher risk of malignant meningiomas.
- You have injured your head in the past.
- You have a history of breast cancer.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Symptoms of this condition usually begin very slowly. The symptoms may depend on the size and location of the tumor. Possible symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Vision changes.
- Hearing changes.
- Loss of the sense of smell.
- Fits of uncontrolled movements (seizures).
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body or in an arm or leg.
- Mood or personality changes.
- Problems with memory or thinking.
How is this diagnosed?
This condition is diagnosed based on:
- Results of brain imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI.
- Removal and testing of a sample of the tumor (biopsy). This may be done to confirm the diagnosis and to help determine the best treatment for the condition.
How is this treated?
You may not have treatment until your symptoms start to affect your daily activities. This is because meningioma grows so slowly, and your health care provider may prefer to monitor its growth before starting treatment. If you do need treatment, it may include:
- Medicines to decrease brain swelling and improve symptoms (steroids).
- High-energy rays (radiation therapy) to shrink or kill the tumor.
- Anti-cancer medicines (chemotherapy) to shrink or kill the tumor. Chemotherapy has many side effects because it also kills healthy cells.
- Targeted therapy. This kills cancerous cells without affecting normal cells.
- Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important. You may need regular visits to monitor the growth of your tumor.
Contact a health care provider if:
- You have symptoms that come back.
- You have diarrhea.
- You vomit.
- You have abdominal pain.
- You cannot eat or drink as much as you need.
- You are weaker or more tired than usual.
- You are losing weight without trying.
Get help right away if:
- Your diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain does not go away.
- You have new symptoms, such as vision problems or difficulty walking.
- You have a seizure.
- You have bleeding that does not stop.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have a fever.
- Meningioma is a tumor that occurs in the thin tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord (meninges).
- Meningiomas are usually benign, which means they are not cancerous and do not spread to other areas.
- Symptoms of this condition usually begin very slowly. The symptoms may depend on the size and location of the tumor.
- Your tumor may be monitored over time. You may not need treatment until your tumor starts to affect your daily life.