The meningioma survival rate is higher than most other types of brain tumors, primarily because meningiomas are usually noncancerous and slow to grow. For these reasons, many patients are considered to be good candidates for surgery, and it is often possible for a neurosurgeon to remove the entire tumor.
What is the survival rate for meningioma patients?
Currently, more than 90% of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 survive for five years or longer after being diagnosed with meningioma. This encouraging survival rate includes many patients who have gone on to live several decades after their diagnosis. Outcomes are especially positive for patients who:
- Have benign (rather than atypical or malignant) meningiomas
- Undergo a full resection, in which the entire tumor (rather than just a part) is successfully removed
When should a meningioma be removed?
Not all meningiomas need to be removed right away. Since these tumors are typically slow-growing, sometimes a “wait-and-see” approach can be taken. Surgery to remove a meningioma tumor may be necessary if:
- You are experiencing symptoms, such as double or blurry vision, hearing loss, tinnitus, memory loss, seizures, debilitating headaches, arm or leg weakness or language difficulty.
- The tumor is pressing on a vital part of the brain, such as the spinal cord or certain blood vessels.
- The tumor is malignant (cancerous).
What are the meningioma treatment options?
There are a few treatment options available to patients with meningiomas. Each patient’s treatment depends on the grade and location of the tumor, the patient’s overall health and the patient’s wishes. Most patients will undergo one or more of the following treatments:
- Surgery – Meningioma tumors can often be successfully removed with surgery. Ideally, the surgeon will remove the entire tumor and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. What’s more, minimally invasive options (such as accessing the tumor through a nasal cavity) are available, depending on the location and size of the tumor.
- Chemotherapy – A drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill cancer cells, chemotherapy is a common form of meningioma treatment that may be used after surgery to ensure there are no lingering cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy tumors. Some meningioma patients may undergo stereotactic radiosurgery, a form of radiation therapy that uses precisely focused radiation beams to treat tumors in the brain.
- Watchful waiting – For patients with slow-growing meningiomas that aren’t causing any symptoms, watchful waiting may be their best option. These patients will have regular evaluations and imaging scans to check on the tumor. If it begins to spread or cause noticeable symptoms, proactive action can then be taken.
Patients who have atypical or malignant meningiomas may coordinate their care between neurosurgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. These patients often find that a comprehensive approach is the best option for a positive outcome.
Can meningioma grow back?
While it’s possible for a meningioma tumor to grow back after treatment, it’s rare for that to happen. Most meningiomas are benign and can be fully removed during surgery, which means many patients can be fully cured from their condition without worrying about the tumor growing back. In fact, studies have shown that as few as 5% of resectable meningiomas recur within five years of the initial treatment. The risk of recurrence often lies in the grade of the tumor and whether it was malignant or benign.
Meningioma treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we understand that a "one-size-fits-all" approach simply doesn’t work when it comes to treating cancer; that’s why we have numerous oncology teams with their own specialties and subspecialties. Patients who turn to Moffitt’s Neuro-Oncology Program for meningioma treatment can work with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable medical professionals in the field, while benefiting from our relentless commitment to continually improving the meningioma survival rate. Through clinical trials, targeted treatments and a comprehensive range of supportive care services, we improve outcomes for all patients, while simultaneously helping them enhance their quality of life.
Our oncologists specializing in brain cancer can provide you with additional information regarding the meningioma survival rate and the unique factors that could influence your own prognosis. At Moffitt, we have disrupted the traditional patient care model to provide patients with rapid access to treatment right away to deliver the best possible outcomes. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online, and you’ll be connected with one of our cancer experts as soon as possible.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology.