Meningioma is a tumor that forms in the meninges, which are the coverings covering the brain and spinal cord. These tumors can grow so large that they press on the brain and nerves, and can cause severe symptoms.

Meningiomas are classified as  benign tumors  that develop very slowly, and may not even show symptoms for years. However, in some cases, meningioma in the brain tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, can cause more serious conditions.

Causes of Meningiomas

Meningioma occurs when cells in the sufferer's brain undergo changes (mutations) so that these cells grow uncontrollably. It is not known exactly what causes the mutation. However, there are several factors that are known to increase a person's risk of developing a meningioma, namely:

  • Female gender
  • Have had radiotherapy to the head
  • Have an inherited nervous system disease, such as  neurofibromatosis type 2
  • Having excess body weight or obesity

Meningiomas Symptoms

Meningioma symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumor. The following are some of the symptoms of meningioma:

  • Shaded blurred vision or seeing objects double
  • Headaches that get worse over time
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Hearing loss ( tinnitus )
  • Disorders of the sense of smell
  • Balance disorders
  • Memory impairment
  • It's hard to talk
  • Changes in habits and behavior
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • seizures

In addition, some of the symptoms that meningioma sufferers that occur in the spine will experience, namely:

  • Pain at the site of the tumor
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Muscles cannot contract normally

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor if someone around you experiences the symptoms and complaints as mentioned above. Immediately seek medical help at the nearest hospital emergency room if the person experiences signs of an emergency, such as:

  • seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Impaired vision
  • Sudden memory loss

If you have been diagnosed with meningioma, follow the medication and therapy given by the doctor, and do periodic checks so that the condition of the disease is always monitored.

Diagnosis of Meningiomas

To diagnose meningioma, the doctor will conduct a question and answer about the patient's symptoms and medical history, then proceed with a physical examination. A physical examination is performed to assess the patient's muscle strength, reflexes, balance, level of consciousness, and nerve sensitivity.

Meningiomas can be difficult to diagnose because of their slow growth. Therefore, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations to make a diagnosis, such as a CT scan or  MRI , to determine the position and size of the tumor. If needed, the doctor will also do  a biopsy .

Meningioma grade _

Based on its characteristics, meningioma can be grouped into several levels, namely:

  • Grade 1 The
    tumor is benign and slow growing.
  • Grade 2
    Tumor growth is faster and has the possibility to grow again after being removed.
  • Grade 3
    Malignant tumors that grow and spread very quickly.

Meningiomas Treatment

Meningioma treatment is determined based on the size, location, and benign or malignant tumors. If the tumor is small, grows slowly, and doesn't cause symptoms, treatment is generally not needed. The doctor will only recommend periodic checks to monitor the development of the tumor.

Meanwhile, if the tumor causes symptoms and grows fast enough, the doctor will perform the following methods:

1. Operation

Surgery aims to remove the tumor. However, if the tumor grows in an area that is difficult to reach, it may not be able to be completely removed. In this case, the doctor will only remove the tumor that is still possible to remove and use other methods to remove the remaining tumor.

2. Endovascular embolization

Endovascular embolization is performed if surgery cannot remove the entire tumor. This treatment aims to stop blood flow to the meningioma so that it shrinks in size.

In the process, the doctor will insert a catheter into the blood vessels that supply the meningioma, then insert special coils or glue to block blood flow to the tumor.

3. Radiotherapy

In addition to endovascular embolization,  radiotherapy  can also be used when surgery cannot completely remove the tumor. This treatment uses radiant energy from X-rays to destroy remaining meningioma cells and reduce the risk of meningioma recurring after surgery.

4. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be done if the meningioma does not improve after being treated with surgery and radiotherapy. This treatment aims to kill tumor cells with drugs.

Meningioma Complications

Meningioma that is not treated can cause the size of the tumor to grow so that it presses on the brain and surrounding nerves. This will cause swelling of the brain , as well as impaired movement and coordination of the limbs. If left unchecked the tumor can turn into malignant.

In addition, the treatment of meningioma from surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can also cause several complications, such as:

  • Damage, bleeding, or infection in healthy tissue around the brain or spine due to surgery
  • The tumor is growing again
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • seizures

Meningioma Prevention

As previously explained, the cause of meningioma is not known with certainty. Therefore, prevention is difficult to do. The best effort that can be done is to avoid factors that can increase the risk of developing this disease, for example by:

  • Consult a doctor about how to reduce the risk of meningioma if you are going to undergo radiotherapy to the head
  • Undergo regular health checks if suffering from diseases of the nervous system
  • Maintain  body weight to remain ideal
Back to blog