Meningioma is a common type of brain tumor that is often (but not always) noncancerous. Meningiomas develop in the meninges, which are soft tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord. These tumors usually occur at the top of the brain, although they can also form at the base of the skull.
Sometimes, meningiomas can go undetected for an extended period of time. In other instances, they can cause headaches, seizures, blurred vision and other neurological issues. Even if a tumor is noncancerous, prompt treatment may still be required to help relieve these symptoms.
How is meningioma treated?
When meningiomas are small, slow-growing (low-grade) and asymptomatic, they can sometimes be managed through active surveillance. With this approach, treatment isn’t provided right away. Instead, medical professionals carefully monitor the patient’s status for any signs of tumor progression. If the cancer starts to spread, the patient can then begin to consider treatment options.
The most common therapies used to treat meningioma include:
- Surgery (e.g., a craniotomy or craniectomy)
- Radiation therapy (including traditional X-ray-based radiation therapy and proton beam radiation therapy)
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
Chemotherapy is not often used to treat meningioma, as chemo medications target cells that divide at an abnormally rapidly pace – a trait that is not common among meningioma cells.
Meningioma outcomes are often positive – especially when patients are diagnosed early. Several studies have found that the majority of patients with grade 1 meningioma survived five years or longer after diagnosis. Recurrence rates are also low, with as few as 5 percent of all patients who had their tumors completely removed experiencing a recurrence. And, with ongoing research and the introduction of newer and more effective therapies, these outcomes are only expected to improve.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we welcome patients with meningioma, and we do not require physician referrals. If you’d like to speak with an experienced neuro-oncologist regarding your test results, treatment options or prognosis, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment.