What is Meningioma?

A Meningioma is a specific type of brain tumor growing in the lining of the skull that protects the brain. These tumors are mostly benign, but about 10% are cancerous. Benign meningiomas don’t spread to the rest of the body, while the cancerous type can spread.

A genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis 2 is the cause of many cases. Radiation exposure, skull fractures, and damage to the lining of the brain also seem to be risk factors for this condition.

What are the Symptoms of Meningioma?

These tumors grow slowly, so most of the time they don’t cause symptoms until they’re pressing on a nerve or part of the brain.

Symptoms include

  • Persistent headaches
  • Generalized body pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unusual behaviors and changes in mood
  • Trouble seeing due to double vision or blind spots.

Seizures can also indicate the presence of one of these tumors in the brain.

Meningioma Causes

The direct causes of meningioma aren’t currently known. Research has revealed that a change occurs in some cells in the meninges, causing them to multiply. As the cells build up, they form the tumor. Why this process begins in the first place is still under study and a number of risk factors have yet to be confirmed. Researchers suspect heredity may be a factor in determining who develops meningioma, but it seems just as likely that exposure to radiation may also play a part.

There are some suspected risk factors for developing meningioma, including the presence of female hormones. Progesterone, the hormone produced by the female ovaries, has been linked to both breast cancer and meningioma. The condition can also be caused by neurofibromatosis 2, a nervous system disorder. Finally, it’s believed that obesity plays a part in the development of meningioma. This link is inferred due to the fact that obesity does play a factor in developing various other forms of cancer, though there is no direct evidence connecting meningioma and obesity.

How is Meningioma Treated?

Since nearly 40% of brain tumors in adults are meningiomas, there are many well-tested treatments to deal with the tumors when they interfere with your health. Tumors that aren’t growing or causing problems that test as benign tend to be left in place and monitored.

Treatments include

Radiation is the best option for tumors that are too delicate to remove or that aren’t responding to surgery. In aggressive forms of this brain cancer, secondary chemotherapy and extra surgery is used to eliminate any cancer that spread to the lungs or other organs. If the tumors return after removal, they’re usually treated with radiation even when they’re benign.

Meningioma Prevention

While there doesn’t currently exist a preventative treatment for meningioma, the research looks promising. There has been an increased response in how inflammatory cyclooxygenase reacts with meningioma. This suggests anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used in the future, as part of a prevention strategy.

Otherwise, the key is to reduce risk factors, where possible. This means avoiding radiation exposure, or, in cases where it’s part of a medical treatment, limiting it to brief exposures as much as possible. Talking with your doctor about your concerns may lead to other possible treatments. Estrogen therapy should also be avoided, especially in cases where the individual has had a previous case of meningioma.

While cell phone use has been suggested as another cause of meningioma, no direct evidence has been produced to establish the veracity of this claim.