Meningioma is the most common type of tumour that arises from meninges (a three-layered membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord). In general, meningioma occurs in the brain, which can also grow on different sections of the spinal cord.
About 90% of meningiomas are categorised as benign tumours and remaining 10% are malignant tumours. Benign tumours are non-cancerous and do not spread in the body. However, a benign tumour can cause disability which can be life-threatening. Malignant tumours are cancerous and multiply uncontrollably and spread different parts of the body to invade surrounding tissue. Meningioma occurs most frequently in women, between the age of 40-70 years. The rate of growth of a tumour is uncertain.
In some cases of meningioma, several tumours grow simultaneously in different sites of the brain and spinal cord. This condition is known as multiple meningiomas.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms mainly depend on the location of the tumour in the brain and spinal cord. The following are the symptoms of meningioma:
- Blurred vision
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- Memory loss
- Loss of smell
The exact cause of meningioma is unclear. However, below mentioned are some of the causes of meningioma:
- Over exposure to ionizing radiation can cause cellular damage which increases the chances of developing meningioma.
- Cell phone emits radio frequency modulated electromagnetic field and exposure to these radiations can cause meningioma.
- Neurofibromatosis is a rare inherited disorder of nervous system which mainly affects the development of nerve cell tissues. This condition can also cause meningioma.
- Genetic mutations and ageing are other causes of myeloma.
RISK FACTORS AND COMPLICATIONS
The following are the factors that may increase the risk of developing meningiomas:
- Women are at higher risk of developing meningioma when compared to men, due to the presence of female hormone progesterone.
- Person with a history of brain injury is at a greater risk of developing the condition.
- Obese people have a higher risk of developing meningiomas.
The following are the complications of meningioma:
- Intracranial calcification
- Raised intracranial pressure
- Cranial nerve disorder
- Primary brain neoplasm
The following are the diagnostic tests recommended for meningioma:
- Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic field to detect any changes in the brain caused by the tumour.
- Computerized tomography scan gives a detailed view of cross-sectional images of the tumour. It also detects changes in the skull that may be due to meningioma.
- Cerebral angiograms provide detailed images of blood vessels located near the brain and spinal cord that helps in analysing any new tumours.
- Neurological function tests help in determining the tumour affected area in various parts of the brain.
The treatment depends on factors such as age, medical history, size and location of tumour. The following are the treatment options for meningioma:
Surgical technique- It is done by following a procedure called craniotomy which involves the removal of tumour by making a hole through the skull. This surgery may be time consuming depending on size and location of the meningioma.
Radiation therapy- involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy the DNA of the abnormal cells. Tumour shrinks after radiation therapy, which helps reduce pressure on the brain or spinal cord. Radiation therapy is preferred after surgery to destroy the remaining abnormal cells.
Chemotherapy-is the use of drug to destroy tumour cells and is generally unified with radiation therapy after surgery to treat advanced tumours. Chemotherapy treatment is applied, when chances of tumour reoccurrence are more.
Other drug medication- provides relief from treatment side effects, but does not treat meningiomas. Alternative medicine therapy includes music therapy, meditation, relaxation exercises.
The following are a few tips to prevent meningiomas:
- Maintain normal body weight
- Avoid unnecessary dental x-rays