mobile header

Meningioma: Understanding Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Meningiomas are a type of brain tumor that develop in the meninges, the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. As they are typically slow-growing tumors, many individuals may not experience symptoms until the tumors have become quite large.


Types of Meningioma

Meningiomas are categorized by their cell structure, location, and growth speed. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies them into three grades based on how likely they are to grow back after treatment:

Grade I Meningiomas (Benign): These are the most common and have the lowest risk of recurrence. They grow slowly and often have clear boundaries.

Grade II Meningiomas (Atypical): More likely to recur than Grade I tumors and grow faster, often involving nearby tissue.

Grade III Meningiomas (Malignant or Anaplastic): These are the least common but most aggressive type, with the highest potential to recur after treatment and spread to other parts of the central nervous system.

Causes of Meningioma

The exact cause of meningiomas remains unclear. However, several factors may increase the risk:

Genetic Disorders: Certain conditions such as neurofibromatosis type 2 can predispose individuals to develop meningioma.

Radiation Exposure: Radiation therapy, particularly in the head area, increases the risk of developing these tumors later in life.

Hormonal Factors: Meningiomas are more common in women, suggesting hormones may play a role, with some tumors found to have hormone receptors.

Age: Most diagnosed cases are in individuals over the age of 60.

While research is ongoing, no definitive environmental or lifestyle risk factors have been confirmed.

Symptoms of Meningioma

Symptoms vary depending on the tumor's location and size. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches that worsen over time
  • Changes in vision, such as blurriness or double vision
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • Memory difficulties
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in limbs or loss of coordination

In some cases, meningiomas present no symptoms and may be discovered incidentally during imaging tests for unrelated conditions.

Treatment of Meningioma

Treatment options depend on the size, type, and location of the meningioma, as well as the patient's overall health:

Observation: Small, benign meningiomas that aren't causing symptoms may be monitored with regular MRI scans.

Surgical Removal: The primary treatment is surgical removal of the tumor. The goal is to remove the tumor without damaging surrounding tissues.

Radiation Therapy: Helps manage smaller meningiomas or those in locations that are difficult to operate on.

Medications: While there are no drugs to treat meningiomas directly, medications can help manage symptoms like swelling, pain, and seizures.

For Grade II or III meningiomas, treatments might also include chemotherapy or targeted therapy depending on their genetic makeup.


Understanding meningiomas can help individuals identify symptoms early and seek the appropriate medical attention. Meningioma treatments have significantly advanced, and the prognosis depends on many factors, including the tumor's grade, size, location, and the patient's response to treatment.

Nonetheless, tackling a meningioma diagnosis requires a multi-disciplinary approach and access to robust medical care and support. While treatment can often be successful, particularly for benign tumors, the possibility of recurrence means that regular follow-up exams are crucial.

For those who think they may be experiencing symptoms of a meningioma, or for more information on the condition and its treatments, reaching out to a medical professional is essential. Early detection and treatment are the best defenses against the potential complications associated with these tumors.