What is Meningioma?
Meningioma is the most common type of tumor that develops in the head. A meningioma is a tumor that develops from the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. Although not strictly a brain tumor, it is classified as such since it has the potential to compress or pressure the neighboring brain, nerves, and arteries.
Meningiomas develop from the arachnoid layer of the meninges, which is the intermediate layer of the meninges. They grow slowly and can live for years before being discovered. A meningioma may be found by chance during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the head or spinal cord.
Meningiomas typically develop in the brain including:
- Convexity meningiomas – Meningiomas with convexity typically develop on the surface of the brain, towards the front. These meningiomas make up over 20% of all cases. Source
- Falcine and parasagittal meningiomas – It develops between the two sides of the brain, where big blood arteries are abundant.
- Intraventricular meningiomas – They develop within the brain’s ventricles, which transport cerebrospinal fluid. A tumor in this location might obstruct fluid flow and cause headaches and dizziness.
- Clival meningiomas – They are found in the posterior cerebral fossa on the underside of the cerebrum. These meningiomas are frequently found as part of a bigger lesion within the sphenoid bone. Source
- Foramen magnum meningiomas – It begins in the opening in the base of the skull through which the spinal cord flows (called the foramen magnum). Source
- Posterior fossa / petrous meningiomas – They are found on the brain’s bottom. They can result in facial spasms and pain in the face, such as trigeminal neuralgia. Source
- Suprasellar meningioma – It develops around the pituitary gland and the optic nerve at the base of the skull. Tumors in this location can cause vision difficulties as well as pituitary gland malfunction. Source
- Recurrent meningioma – Any meningioma can recur. When a meningioma recurs, it may be of the same grade or of a more aggressive or malignant type.
It is still entirely unknown whether this happens as a result of inherited genes, hormones (which may be connected to the more common occurrence in women), the extremely unlikely occurrence of earlier radiation exposure, or other variables.
Doctors are aware of an alteration that causes some meningeal cells to proliferate uncontrollably, resulting in a meningioma tumor.
Meningioma risk factors include:
- Radiation exposure
- Type 2 neurofibromatosis is a hereditary condition.
- Radiation therapy
- Hormones produced by females
- A genetic nerve system disorder
Meningioma symptoms often appear gradually and may be highly modest at first. Depending on where the tumor is located in the brain or, in rare cases, the spine, signs, and symptoms may include:
- Personality or behavioral changes
- The progression of a localized neurologic impairment
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
- Muscle fatigue
- Nauseousness or vomiting
- Visual impairments
Meningiomas are rarely detected before they cause symptoms.
If possible, a bit of tumor tissue will be taken during surgery to get an accurate diagnosis. The tumor tissue should subsequently be examined by a neuropathologist.
The most popular techniques used to diagnose brain cancers are MRI and computed tomography (CT or CAT scans), which use computers to create comprehensive brain images.
If you are unable to get an MRI, your doctor would most likely recommend a head CT scan with contrast. CT scans use X-rays and computers to create detailed images of the structures inside your body.
Meningioma treatment is very personalized and will most likely include a combination of the following therapies:
- Observation – By waiting and seeing, observation over time may be the best course of action.
- Surgery – Meningiomas are primarily benign tumors with distinct margins, allowing for total surgical removal and the best chance of cure.
- Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy employs high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells and aberrant brain cells while also shrinking tumors. If the tumor cannot be effectively treated with surgery, radiation therapy may be a possibility.
- Chemotherapy – Except for atypical or malignant subtypes of meningioma that cannot be effectively treated with surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy is rarely used to treat meningioma.
When do we see the doctor?
Most meningioma signs and symptoms develop gradually, but in some cases, a meningioma needs prompt treatment.
If you experience persistent signs and symptoms that worry you, such as headaches that get worse over time, schedule an appointment to visit your healthcare professional.
Since there is no recognized or perfect method of preventing meningioma. However, specific lifestyle adjustments can help avoid the condition:
- Fresh fruits like avocado and apricot in your daily diet can help prevent meningioma cancer.
- Consuming certain meals and supplements may help lower the risk of developing meningioma. Fish, fresh fruits, green vegetables, curcumin, and vitamin E are a few of these.
- Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D-rich foods may also help minimize symptoms such as cerebral edema in Meningioma tumor patients undergoing surgical treatment.
- Limit your intake of N-nitrosamine-containing foods such as salted fish, veggies, and processed meat.
- Limit your use of exogenous drugs and smoking.
- Try not to use any additional hormonal therapy, such as cyproterone acetate (CPA).