Meningioma brain tumours
Surgery is the main treatment strategy.
Find out more about meningiomas, or a type of primary brain tumours
Meningioma brain tumours key points
Meningiomas are one of the most common primary brain tumours and they come in 3 grades: grade 1 is the most benign form and grade 3 is the cancerous form.
Fortunately, most meningiomas are benign.
Surgery is the main treatment strategy because meningiomas cause problems by physically pressing on parts of the brain and irritating it.
Meningioma | Brain tumour surgery Brisbane
What is it?
It is very common for neurosurgeons to see and treat them, but very uncommon for non-medical people to hear about them.
What are the symptoms?
There are only 3 symptoms that can occur:
Headaches due to pressure on the brain from the tumour pushing on the brain and causing swelling in the brain. This pressure can also make you feel vague and somewhat confused.
Stroke-like symptoms such as speech issues, vision problems and weaknesses in your arms, legs or face. For example, if the tumour is pressing on the speech centre of the brain then you might have problems speaking. If it is pushing on the movement part of your brain then you may have weakness in your face, arms or legs. Similarly, if it is in the vision part of your brain then you may have blind spots in your vision, and keep running into things.
Seizures: There are different types of brain tumours that are more likely to cause seizures, however occasionally meningiomas can cause a seizure. It is very rare for this to lead to an epilepsy problem long term.
Is it dangerous?
Most meningiomas are benign, meaning they do not transform into cancer and do not spread to other parts of the body. The way meningiomas cause problems is by slowly squashing parts of the brain as they gradually grow over time. They can cause either symptoms like headache, stroke-like symptoms from pressing on important parts of the brain or seizures. This is obviously dangerous and when you are experiencing these symptoms you will need treatment.
Grade 2 and grade 3 meningiomas are more dangerous because they grow more quickly and can spread further along the lining of the brain. Occasionally they can actually invade the underlying brain. Grade 2 and 3 meningiomas always need treatment.
There is only one risk factor that we are aware of and that’s excessive radiation. This used to be an issue many years ago when children were given whole brain radiotherapy for childhood brain cancers. Fortunately this type of treatment does not occur anymore.
Radiation from flying on a plane or from a mobile phone is nowhere near strong enough and does not cause meningiomas. I have spent my entire life on my mobile phone taking emergency calls and I am not worried about getting a brain tumour.
Almost all meningiomas are not inherited, meaning you didn’t get a bad gene from your parents and you can’t pass a bad gene to your children that will cause meningiomas.
There is one genetic condition that does cause meningiomas and this is NF 2. This is exceptionally rare.
Meningiomas only affect the lining of the brain and the lining of the spinal cord (because it is all one continuous lining). They do not affect any other part of the body.
How is it treated?
Do I need surgery when I have a meningioma?
Neurosurgery has come a long way in modern times. Now surgery can be done quite routinely and with relatively quick recovery. Remember, most of the time we are trying to improve your quality of life by removing the tumour so performing an operation that makes you no better, or even worse is not appropriate. Performing big surgery to remove everything at all costs (to you) is certainly not a modern way of thinking. I will take you through everything when I see you and explain how I will get you through this as good as possible.