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A meningioma is a tumor that grows on the meninges, which are membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas are usually noncancerous (benign) but can sometimes be malignant (cancerous). They rarely spread to other body parts but can cause symptoms such as headaches and vision loss.
Meningioma Treatment in Tucson, AZ
What is Meningioma?
Meningiomas are tumors that form on the meninges, the tissues that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas are typically slow-growing tumors, but they can grow large enough to cause problems with vision or hearing.
Meningiomas make up about 30% of all brain tumors, and they are more common in women than in men. They are most common in people over the age of 40.
Types of Meningioma
Meningiomas develop slowly in the meninges, which surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas are benign tumors that can grow anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. Radiant Oncology’s neurosurgeons and specialist teams are experienced in detecting and treating a wide range of meningiomas.
- Convexity meningiomas: Meningiomas, which grow towards the front of a person’s brain and on its surface, are almost 20 percent of tumors in this group. We usually do not see any symptoms until they get large enough to cause problems. If left untreated, this condition can lead to seizures, headaches and vision problems as well as neurological impairment.
- Falcine and parasagittal meningiomas: Brain tumors grow between the two hemispheres of the brain, where there are many large blood vessels. If this type of tumor sits on surrounding blood vessels and interferes with their flow, it can cause serious problems in your health.
- Intraventricular meningiomas: Brain tumors that grow within the ventricles, which carry cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), can block the flow of CSF and cause headaches and dizziness.
Skull Base Meningiomas
- Cavernous sinus meningiomas: These are rare brain tumors that occur in the cavernous sinus, a group of veins that pass blood from your face to your brain. Cavernous sinus meningiomas can cause double vision and dizziness as well as facial pain
- Clival meningiomas: Meningiomas can form in many locations within the central nervous system. They tend to grow slowly on the underside of your cerebrum, but they may also develop as part of a larger lesion growing within the sphenoid bone.
- Foramen magnum meningiomas: These meningiomas arise in the foramen magnum, a hole through which the spinal cord passes.
- Olfactory groove meningiomas: An olfactory meningioma grows near the part of your brain that controls smell. If you have one, it may cause a loss of smell in addition to altering vision if its size becomes large enough.
- Posterior fossa / petrous meningiomas: Trigeminal neuralgia is a pain in facial nerves caused by compression of the main nerve that supplies sensation to the face.
- Sphenoid wing meningiomas: Meningiomas, which grow on the sphenoid ridge behind the eyes, can cause visual problems and facial numbness. In severe cases, they may lead to blindness.
- Spinal meningiomas: These rare tumors tend to occur in middle-aged women and press against the spinal cord in the thoracic region of the chest. They can cause back pain, numbness, or tingling.
- Suprasellar meningiomas: Meningiomas, which develop near the pituitary gland and optic nerve at the base of the skull, grow slowly. They can cause severe visual impairment in one or both eyes.
- Tentorial meningiomas: These tumors are located along the surface of the tentorium cerebella and can cause headaches, seizures, and difficulty walking.
What are the symptoms of Meningioma?
A meningioma’s symptoms may vary depending on where it is located in your brain.
- Vision changes
- Loss of hearing or smell
- Headaches that are worse in the morning
How is Meningioma diagnosed?
Because meningiomas are slow growing, they can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of a meningioma—which may include subtle changes in personality or behavior as well as headaches and seizures—are often mistaken for other health conditions or written off as normal signs of aging
If your provider suspects that you have a meningioma, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating neurological problems (neurologist).
To diagnose a meningioma, your doctor will conduct a detailed exam of your nervous system followed by an imaging test such as:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: CT scans are like X-rays and create cross-sectional images of a full picture of your brain. Sometimes an iodine-based dye is used to make the picture easier to read, especially if you have had many strokes or seizures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): With this imaging study, a magnetic field and radio waves are used to create cross-sectional images of the structures within your brain. MRI scans provide more detailed pictures than CT scans do—and can show whether tumors or other abnormalities exist in specific parts of the brain.
Some meningioma tumors will be biopsied to rule out other types of brain tumors and confirm the diagnosis.
There are four stages of Meningioma:
The BCLC system ranks the severity of HCC by the tumor’s characteristics, how well the liver is functioning, how cancer impacts daily activities and performance (the patient’s status), and what symptoms are present. There are different stage groupings that include:
- Very early stage: The tumor is less than 2 centimeters in size. The portal vein does not have any greater pressure, which is one of the liver’s main blood vessels. Bilirubin levels are normal, suggesting that there is no bilirubin buildup in the body. Surgery is usually advised as a result of these findings.
- Early stage: The tumor is 5 cm or less. Liver function varies and portal vein pressure may be increased along with bilirubin levels, or just the latter two. People with early-stage disease who are good candidates for a liver transplant, surgery, or radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
- Intermediate stage: The tumor may be small, or there may be several tumors. In most cases, doctors recommend administering local therapies such as transarterial chemoembolization.
- Advanced stage: If the tumor has invaded the portal vein or metastasized to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, and bones, targeted therapy is usually recommended.
There Are 3 Grades of Meningioma:
A meningioma is a primary central nervous system (CNS) tumor. This means it begins in the brain or spinal cord. Overall, meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor. However, higher-grade meningiomas are very rare.
To get an accurate diagnosis, a piece of tumor tissue will be removed during surgery, if possible. A neuropathologist should then review the tumor tissue.
What Are the Grades of Meningiomas?
Primary central nervous system tumors are graded based on their location, type, spread to other parts of the body (metastasis), and whether surgery can be performed.
Meningioma subtypes are grouped into three grades based on their characteristics. The grade of a patient’s meningioma helps determine the type and spread of the tumor, as well as its treatment options.
Grade I: Meningiomas are slow-growing tumors that makeup about 90 percent of all spinal cord tumors in adults.
Grade II: Atypical meningiomas are considered to be higher-grade tumors, which means that
they have a greater chance of returning after surgery. The two subtypes include choroid and clear cell meningioma.
Grade III: The tumors known as anaplastic meningiomas are malignant. They tend to grow quickly and spread aggressively once they begin invading other parts of the brain or spinal column.
What Are the Treatments for Meningioma?
The treatment for a meningioma will differ depending on a number of circumstances: the exact location of the tumor in the brain, the meningioma’s malignancy or benignity, and the patient’s general state and treatment objectives.
- Surgery – Surgery is the most common treatment for a meningioma. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging any important nerves in your brain or spinal cord. If your doctor does a biopsy before surgery, it will tell if the tumor can be removed completely by removing just part of it.
- Observation – Your doctor may recommend observation over surgery if the tumor is small and has not caused any symptoms. In this case, your doctor will monitor the tumor to make sure that it does not grow or cause new problems.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be used alone or with surgery. Radiation therapy is effective in treating meningiomas that have not spread to other parts of the body.
- Rehabilitation therapy – Rehabilitation therapy is specialized physical, occupational, and speech therapy that can help you recover from the effects of brain surgery. Rehabilitation therapy may include exercises to improve balance and coordination, walking in different positions or with a cane or walker, and using adaptive equipment for daily living activities like bathing and dressing.
What are the side effects of Meningioma treatment?
The side effects of meningioma treatment depend on the patient’s age, overall health, and how long they’ve been undergoing therapy. Some common side effects include:
What is the role of radiation therapy in Meningioma?
Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to treat cancer. It is usually a part of the treatment plan for patients who have meningioma, which is a type of brain tumor. Radiation therapy can be used on its own or combined with other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays and/or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The goal of radiation therapy is to get rid of all or most of the tumor while causing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Radiation may also be used to relieve symptoms caused by the presence of a tumor, such as pain or pressure inside the head.
The amount of radiation that is given depends on many factors, including:
- The kind of tumor being treated (for instance, if it has spread or not)
- Whether there are any nearby normal tissues that need to be protected from damage (such as nerves and blood vessels)
- How well your body handles radiation (based on your age, general health and medical history)
What is the prognosis for someone with Meningioma?
Risk Factors for Meningioma
There are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing meningioma, including:
- Age: The older you are, the greater your risk.
- Gender: Men are more likely to develop meningiomas than women.
- Family History: If you have a family member who has had a meningioma, your chances of developing one are higher than if no other family members have had one.
- Environment: Exposure to certain chemicals may be a risk factor for meningioma. These include: aliphatic hydrocarbons, such as benzene (found in gasoline) and xylene (found in paint thinner); aromatic amines, such as aniline (found in rubber and plastics) and phenol (used as a disinfectant)
Radiation exposure: People who have received high doses of radiation to their head or neck are more likely to develop meningiomas.
How can you reduce your risk of getting Meningioma?
There are several ways to reduce your risk of getting meningioma, a tumor that develops on the brain or spinal cord.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals that may increase the risk of developing meningioma, such as benzene and pesticides.
- Stay away from magnetic fields (e.g., MRI machines), which have been linked to an increased risk of developing meningioma in some people.
- Do not smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, because they can increase your risk of developing meningioma.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, because these lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of developing meningioma.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, because it may increase your risk of developing meningioma.
We are here to help
Radiant Oncology is here to help you navigate your Meningioma diagnosis. We know that this can be a scary time, but we are here to walk you through it. We have been helping people like you for years now, and we have learned a lot about the needs of patients like you.
Meningioma is a type of tumor that grows on the meninges, which are layers that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can cause headaches, seizures, and other symptoms depending on where the tumor is located.
At Radiant Oncology, we care about you as an individual and want to help you get back to living your life again as quickly as possible. We know how frightening it can be when something like this happens—that’s why our team is here for you every step of the way.