Understanding Meningioma

Meningioma is a type of tumour that forms on the membranes surrounding the brain, which are called the meninges. Meningiomas can squeeze the surrounding nerves, vessels and brain tissue, which can lead to the sufferer experiencing a variety of debilitating neurological symptoms. This type of tumour tends to grow slowly and can be present for some time before any symptoms appear. It's more commonly diagnosed in women than men, and it tends to be diagnosed more frequently in the elderly. Here's an overview of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for meningioma:

Causes And Symptoms

Doctors aren't certain about what causes a meningioma to develop, but there are a few theories about what factors can cause the cells in your meninges to begin rapid multiplication into a tumour. Patients who've previously undergone radiation treatment to the head seem to be at a greater risk of developing this condition, and hormone imbalances may play a role in causing changes to cell structure, which may explain why this type of tumour is more common in women. Additionally, meningioma is more prevalent in those classed as obese, but the precise reason for this is still being investigated.

Symptoms of meningioma tend to be subtle at first and become more pronounced as the tumour grows. It's common to experience muscle weakness in your limbs, headaches and changes to your vision. You may also experience hearing loss, difficulty concentrating and memory loss. Some sufferers also experience seizures and changes in mood.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Your doctor will diagnose meningioma by taking details of your symptoms and asking you to carry out some standard neurological exercises that test your balance and memory. You may be asked to keep a diary of your symptoms and daily activity to help your doctor determine if there's a pattern. To confirm a suspected meningioma, you will undergo diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan of your brain.

Your neurologist will recommend a treatment approach based on the size of the tumour and severity of your symptoms. If your symptoms are not too troublesome, they may suggest you wait and see how quickly the tumour grows and your symptoms change. In this situation, you will have regular brain scans to monitor your tumour. Radiation therapy may be suggested as a way to destroy the meningioma, and advances in this type of treatment have reduced the impact of radiation on surrounding healthy tissue. Alternatively, your neurologist may recommend that you have a neurosurgeon remove the meningioma, but due to the location of this type of tumour, you should ensure you fully understand the possible complications before making a decision.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms associated with meningioma, schedule a neurology appointment as soon as possible.