Meningioma is a brain tumor that affects the cellular elements belonging to the meninges. This tumor is often benign (non-cancerous) and rarely present with a malignant phenotype. It more often affects the dura mater, especially where there are more arachnoid villi. It is a benign tumor, although it can cause compression of the brain, erode and damage bone tissue or, in rare cases, degenerate into a malignant tumor, turning into sarcoma.
This type of cancer accounts for 30% of brain tumors. It is twice as common in women, adults, and the elderly.
Their risk increases with age, and they are more likely to occur in patients who have family members with neurofibromatosis, a genetic syndrome that leads to the development of several benign tumors in the meninges and nerves.
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What are the symptoms?
If at first, the patient may be completely asymptomatic (and unaware of the presence of the mutated cells),later he may develop variable disorders based on
- The localization, on which the area of the brain that will undergo compression, will depend.
- The size, on which the amount of compression is exerted, will depend.
Generally, the signs and symptoms of a meningioma appear and grow gradually, increasing in intensity as the size of the mass increases.
Some of the most common signs include:
- Vision changes, such as blurred or double vision.
- Headaches that worsen with time
- Hearing loss or tinnitus in the ears
- Memory loss
- Weakness in the arms
- Weakness in the legs
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
Most signs of brain cancer are slowly evolving, but this disease sometimes depends on emergency medical care.
How do diagnose this cancerous mass?
When asymptomatic, the diagnosis may occur following the request for tests prescribed for other purposes, such as head trauma. Unfortunately, it is possible that the symptoms of a meningioma can be mistaken, at least initially, for a normal consequence of age, thus delaying the diagnosis.
Several techniques and tests can be used by your oncologist, including:
- Physical examination
- Imaging examinations
- Analysis of a tumor sample.
What are the risks of a brain tumor?
The risks that are related to the progression of a meningioma are:
- Female hormones
- Weakness in the brain system
- Neurofibromatosis type II.
What are the causes of a brain tumor?
The causes of the formation of a meningioma are not well known. Many cases are sporadic, that is to say, they occur randomly, while some respect a family transmission. Meningiomas can occur at any age but are most commonly found between the ages of 40 and 60.
However, their formation has recently been linked to genetic predisposition, exposure to radiation, head trauma, and hormonal changes (such as pregnancy, especially the increase in the hormone progesterone).
What are the treatments for meningioma?
The treatments depend on several essential factors:
- The size and position of meningioma.
- The growth stage of the tumor.
- Age and general health.
- Your treatment goals
The brain tumor treatment is essentially surgical. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for the medical specialist (for example an oncologist or a neurosurgeon) to opt for watchful waiting, especially in the case of a small tumor with no apparent symptoms.
The technique used to operate, as well as the complexity of the operation, vary depending on the area affected by the growth, but usually, a craniotomy is required, a removal surgery that allows access to the interior of the skull.
In some patients, it is possible to opt for radiotherapy, for example in case of relapses or tumors that cannot be eliminated.
Chemotherapy is rarely used.
Tumor at the sub-medium brain level, low progression rate, lifelong. It does not need to be treated.
The probability of recovery
Recovery relies on the type of tumor, the stage of its expansion, the possibilities of treatment, the age, and the patient's state of health as well. About benign brain tumors, such as meningioma, which is progressing slowly, the percentage of healing is very good.
For malignant tumors to progress sharply, and their prognosis is sometimes unfavorable, many new therapeutic advances are expected.
The malignant change remains a remarkable uncertainty, but it is not uncommon that during the gradual recovery the tumor presents a degree of anaplasia.
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