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Meningioma

Overview

These primary brain tumors grow in the meninges, thin layers of protective tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord. They are usually slow growing and do not often spread to other parts of the body. They usually do not grow into the brain, but instead push on the brain as they get larger.

Types of Meningiomas

Meningiomas may be either typical (benign) atypical (more aggressive) or malignant, depending on the type. They are divided into grades according to their characteristics.

Grade 1

Grade 1 meningiomas are typically slow-growing and benign. They often respond well to treatment, and are unlikely to recur. About 90 percent of all meningiomas are Grade 1.

Grade 2

Grade 2 meningiomas grow more aggressively and can invade surrounding tissues. They are more difficult to treat, and have a greater likelihood of recurrence after surgery.

Grade 3

Grade 3 malignant meningiomas are very aggressive, often invade the surrounding brain, and have a high chance of recurrence. They are difficult to treat.

Symptoms

Because the brain is such a complex organ, brain tumors can affect the mind and body in many different ways. They can cause physical problems, such as severe headaches, nausea, seizures, weakness, numbness or loss of vision. They can cause behavioral changes, such as confusion and impulsiveness. The symptoms depend on the type, size and location of the tumor.

Treatment

Meningiomas can be treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Because they are typically benign, some require no treatment, only careful observation. Treatment options depend on the type, size and location of the tumor and the age, size and condition of the patient.

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