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Brain tumour(meningioma): Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About brain tumour (meningioma)

Brain tumour results from abnormal growth of cells in central nervous system which constitutes the brain and the spinal cord. It may be of various types depending upon the cells it develops from. Meningioma is a slow growing tumour originating from the meninges which are the protective membrane coverings of the brain. Meningioma is mainly benign in nature; however malignant meningioma may also occur.

Brain tumour (meningioma): Incidence, age and sex

This kind of brain tumour is mainly seen in individuals of more than 40 years of age with an increased frequency in women as compared with men. Children are very seldom affected.

Signs and symptoms of brain tumour (meningioma): Diagnosis

The clinical features of meningioma may be varied and depend upon the part of the central nervous system involved. Meningioma can develop anywhere in the brain and spinal cord but it generally involves the cerebral part of the brain. Any tumour in the brain can lead to raised intracranial pressure which causes distressing symptoms like headache, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, a patient may also present with seizures and mood changes which may be seen early in the course of the disease. Other features may include weakness of the limbs, speech problems, loss of memory, vision impairment, gait inco-ordination or loss of sense of smell. Spinal cord involvement may result in back pain and weakness in legs. This tumour does not spread to other parts of the body. It is advisable to consult a neurologist who will conduct a comprehensive neurological examination to assess the effects of the tumour. Other investigations like CT scan, MRI scan and biopsy will help in detecting the presence, location and spread of the tumour. Other investigations like cerebral angiogram and spinal tap may be advised, if needed.

Causes and prevention of brain tumour (meningioma)

The cause of development of meningioma is not known. No risk factors or triggers have been documented to predispose to meningioma. But it has been postulated that a genetic disorder, ‘neurofibromatosis’ may increase the chances of meningioma.

Brain tumour (meningioma): Complications

Since meningioma is a tumour of the brain which is responsible for functions of various parts of the body, its consequences may not be restricted to the brain but may affect the whole body. Features like loss of vision or impairment of the thought process or serious behavioural changes and uncoordinated movements may be seen in some individuals.

Brain tumour (meningioma): Treatment

It is recommended to consult a neurologist and oncologist to discuss the effective management of meningioma. The treatment modality constitutes surgery which is the choice of treatment and radiotherapy including stereotactic radiosurgery. Meningioma is surgically removed if it is in an accessible position and this approach is combined with radiotherapy which helps in shrinking the tumour. When the tumour is inaccessible or close to significant blood vessels, then it may be advisable to bypass surgery and consider radiotherapy.