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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is a meningioma?

A meningioma is a tumor that starts in the meninges of the brain and spinal cord. The meninges are the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. They prevent germs and other substances from entering the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas are slow-growing and benign (not cancer).

What increases my risk for a meningioma?

  • Cancer, especially breast cancer
  • A family history of meningiomas, cancer, or neurofibromatosis type 2
  • Increased levels of female sex hormones, such as estrogen
  • A skull fracture
  • Radiation treatment or exposure

What are the signs and symptoms of a meningioma?

Signs and symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumor. You may have no symptoms, or you may have any of the following:

  • Headaches, especially right after you wake up
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or inability to move a limb
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble speaking or changes in vision
  • Seizures

How is a meningioma diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history, and the health history of family members. An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI will show the location of the tumor. You may be given contrast liquid to help the tumor show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

How is a meningioma treated?

Treatment depends on the location and size of the tumor, and your signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you have regular tests and follow-up visits to watch for changes. You may also need any of the following:

  • Surgery may be done to remove the tumor.
  • Endovascular embolization is a procedure to reduce or stop blood flow to the meningioma and decrease its size. Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter into a blood vessel that goes to your brain. When the artery that is supplying the meningioma is reached, a coil or glue is injected to block blood flow to the tumor.
  • Hormone therapy may help to decrease the size of tumors that need estrogen for growth.
  • Radiation therapy uses high energy x-ray beams to kill tumor cells and decrease the size of the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy is used to kill tumor cells.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. If you have nausea or diarrhea from treatment, extra liquids may help decrease your risk for dehydration.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. This may help you feel better during treatment and decrease side effects. You may need to change what you eat during treatment. Do not eat foods or drink liquids that cause gas, such as cabbage, beans, onions, or soft drinks. A nutritionist may help to plan the best meals and snacks for you.
    Healthy Foods
  • Be physically active, as directed. Exercise may improve your energy levels and appetite. Your healthcare provider can help you create a physical activity plan.
    Hispanic Family Walking for Exercise

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You vomit repeatedly, and cannot keep any food or liquids down.
  • You have a severe headache, or you feel dizzy.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Meningioma

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.