A meningioma is a tumor that arises in the meninges or the membranes that surround the brain cum spinal cord. Most meningiomas are usually noncancerous or benign very rarely a meningioma may be cancerous or malignant. Some meningiomas are termed as atypical meaning they are neither benign nor malignant, but instead something in between. Meningiomas occur usually in older or elderly women, and may occur in males or children of any age. An immediate treatment may not be required always for meningioma that causes no significant signs and symptoms has to be monitored over time.
Signs and symptoms :
Symptoms are usually gradual. The most common symptoms are
- Vision changes
- Severe headaches
- Hearing loss over the time
- Memory loss over the time
Though the exact causes remain unknown, inherent genetic factors are considered as the main cause. You have to see the doctor if you have unexplained headaches. Most signs of meningioma evolve very slowly and show no symptoms beforehand. One must approach the doctor immediately if one has sudden onset of seizures or changes in vision or memory related problems.
It is not clear what triggers meningioma, it could be a combination of environmental, hormonal and genetic factors or either of the three. Any alteration to the cells in the meninges leading them to multiply out of control leads to meningioma tumor.
Risk factors :
Radiation therapy : Radiation may up the risk of meningioma
Female hormones : Female hormones are said to up the risk of meningiomas
An inherited nervous system disorder : Rare disorder called neurofibromatosis type 2 may increase the risk of meningioma and other brain tumors.
Complications : Complications arising out of treatment include seizures, memory loss, and difficulty in concentrating and sometimes personality changes. The treatment requires specialist doctors and immense family support to be extended to the patient.
Preparing for your appointment :
Be sure to take your family member along with you. Note down all the points you want to ask the doctor. Tell him all your symptoms and complications. Note down the medications you are taking. It would be beneficial for you to prepare a list of questions you want to ask the doctor about meningioma and the treatment you are being administered like
- How huge is my meningioma
- Is it showing signs of malignancy
- What is the best line of treatment
- What is the time duration of the treatment
- Are there any side-effects
- Do I undergo radiation
- Do I take chemotherapy
- How do I cope with the treatment
- Will I receive any psychological counseling during the course of the treatment
Tests and diagnosis: A meningioma may be detected through various tests or diagnostics as decided by your physician based on the symptoms you exhibit.
- A CT scan or computerized tomography may be suggested to see the images of the brain, an iodine dye may be injected to get the best resolution based augmented pictures
- An MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging of the brains provides cross-sectional images of the brain clearly targeting any meningioma present.
Treatment and Drugs :
The overall treatment depends on lot of factors such as :
- Your present physical condition
- The size of the meningioma
- Your psychological condition and if you need any counseling
The treatment may involve wait and see approach. If the meningioma is small and does not show any signs of malignancy, the doctor may suggest you to wait before any line of treatment are started. If the tumor is growing or shows signs of malignancy it can be treated either through surgery, radiation and drugs or all the three put together.
Surgery :The surgeon may perform surgery to remove the brain tumor completely. If the brain tumor is positioned in such a manner that it cannot be removed completely radiation may be sought after especially if the tumor is positioned around the optic nerve. Surgery may pose risks of bleeding or any other complications.
The main aim of the radiation therapy is to destroy any meningioma cells present after the surgery. A large machine is used to aim high powered energy beams to target the tumor cells. SRT or fractioned stereotactic radiation therapy or intensity modulated radiotherapy are now being put to use successfully. Proton beam radiation is also being used as an option. Radiosurgery: Radiosurgery as the name suggests does not involve any cuts or incisions but is rather a form of radiation therapy. Several beams of radiation are passed on to a single point to target the meningioma. It is the best option for recurrent meningioma or meningioma that cannot be removed through conventional surgeries.
Fractioned Radiation may be used to treat tumors that are positioned in the delicate parts of the brain. The treatment involves giving small fractions of radiation over a long duration of time.
Drugs or medicines:The treatment involves taking medications alone or medications with radiotherapy or after or before the surgery. Usually therapeutic drugs are beingutilized to provide relief to the patients. Many new drugs are being invented and tested to counter meningioma. Alternative therapy has not proved effective in treating meningioma. Alternative form of medicine may include hypnotherapy, acupuncture, Meditation, relaxation exercises, other forms of relaxation exercises provide much needed temporary relief to the patient and may boost his or her immunity to tackle the stress arising out of the treatments.
Coping and dealing with the situation :
It can be alarming for one to know that one is diagnosed with meningioma. Firstly, it is important not to panic but come to terms with the fact and to know that there have been advancements in the field of treatments and good doctors are available. Staying relaxed and reducing the stress levels help the patient respond faster to the treatment options as suggested by his physician. It is important to remember that meningioma is not invincible.
KIMS Hospital is the best hospital in Hyderabad for treatment of Meningioma and all kinds of brain tumors. Having the most experienced neurosurgeons in Hyderabad, KIMS is considered one of the best hospitals for neurosurgery in Hyderabad.