Symptoms of meningioma, a type of brain tumor that is usually benign, will vary depending on the location of the tumor. Changes in personality, behavior, vision or hearing could occur gradually over time. Other possible meningioma symptoms include headaches that gradually get worse, hearing loss, and a feeling of weakness or numbness in the arms or legs. Experts recommend seeing a doctor about any unusual symptoms that persist over time. An individual should seek emergency medical attention for potential meningioma symptoms with sudden onset, including seizures, abrupt changes in vision, or sudden impairment of cognitive function.
Meningioma is a tumor of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, accounting for about 27 percent of brain tumors. Although it can arise at any time during childhood or adulthood, this type of tumor occurs most frequently in women in middle age. Up to 85 percent of meningioma cases are benign, or non-cancerous. Meningioma might not require immediate medical treatment, and in some cases a doctor might recommend continued monitoring over time rather than aggressive treatment.
Meningioma symptoms occur when the tumor's location or size causes pressure on specific areas of the brain or spinal cord. Symptoms related to eyesight, memory, hearing, and personality are indicative of the tumor's location in the brain. Spinal meningioma, in which the tumor grows on the spine at or near chest level, typically is indicated by radiating pain in the chest, bladder problems, or weakness and numbness of the legs. Occasionally a tumor does not present with overt symptoms and is discovered during MRI testing for an unrelated condition. In cases where there are no overt meningioma symptoms, monitoring via regular brain scans will most likely be recommended in lieu of immediate treatment.
Meningioma occurs when cells in a certain area of the brain begin to grow more rapidly than normal. The exact cause of this unusual cell multiplication is not known. Women are more likely to be affected by meningioma symptoms, which could indicate that female hormones are involved in the development of this type of tumor. One potential risk factor for the development of meningioma is previous radiation to the head for the treatment of other cancers. In addition, anyone with the rare nervous disorder called neurofibromatosis type 2 is believed to be at increased risk of developing some type of brain tumor.
Medical terms for specific types of meningioma indicate the location of the tumor. Convexity meningioma refers to a tumor located on the upper surface of the brain. A tumor found behind the eyes or around the eye sockets is called intraorbital or sphenoid meningioma. Olfactory groove meningioma occurs alongside the nerves connecting the brain to the nose. A tumor found at the back of the brain is referred to as posterior fossa meningioma.