Meningioma (brain tumor)

Head | Oncology | Meningioma (brain tumor) (Disease)


Meningiomas are benign tumors that develop in the thin membranes, or meninges, that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas usually grow slowly and do not invade surrounding normal tissue. They rarely spread to other parts of the central nervous system or body.

Most meningiomas are noncancerous (benign), though, rarely, a meningioma may be cancerous (malignant). Some meningiomas are classified as atypical, meaning theyre neither benign nor malignant, but rather something in between.

Signs and symptoms of a meningioma typically begin gradually and may be very subtle at first. Depending on where in the brain or, rarely, spine the tumor is situated, signs and symptoms may include: changes in vision, such as seeing double or blurriness, headaches that worsen with time, hearing loss, memory loss, seizures, weakness in your arms or legs.

Causes and Risk factors

It isnt clear what causes a meningioma. Doctors know that something alters some cells in your meninges - the membranes that form a protective barrier around your brain and spinal cord - to make them multiply out of control, leading to a meningioma tumor. But whether this occurs because of genes you inherit, things youre exposed to in your environment or a combination of both remains unknown.

Risk factors for a meningioma include: radiation treatment, radiation therapy that involves radiation to the head may increase the risk of a meningioma, female hormones (meningiomas are more common in women, leading doctors to believe that female hormones may play a role), an inherited nervous system disorder (the rare disorder neurofibromatosis type 2 increases the risk of meningioma and other brain tumors)

Meningiomas occur most commonly in older women. But a meningioma can occur in males and at any age, including childhood.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The symptoms of a meningioma tumor depends on its location. This is one of the few tumors that produces characteristic bony changes in the skull that can sometimes be seen on skull X-rays.

A meningioma doesnt always require immediate treatment. A meningioma that causes no significant signs and symptoms may be monitored over time. ...