How Likely is My Meningioma to Return?

Sep 07, 2023
How Likely is My Meningioma to Return?
Navigating a meningioma diagnosis can be overwhelming, and it’s only natural to wonder if this brain tumor might return. Keep reading to learn more about this condition and how likely it is to return after treatment.

Meningiomas are the most common type of brain tumor, accounting for more than one-third of all primary brain tumors. But no matter how common, a diagnosis of a brain tumor is always a cause for concern.

Our board-certified neurosurgeon, Praveen Reddy, MD, MCh., at the Center for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, with five offices in the greater Houston area, is an expert at diagnosing and treating different brain tumors, including meningioma. 

If you’re facing a meningioma diagnosis, take a moment to learn more about this type of brain tumor and how likely it is to return after treatment. 

Meningioma 101

Meningioma is a type of tumor that grows from your meninges, the protective membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord. While most meningiomas are benign (non-cancerous), they can cause significant problems depending on their size and location.

Here’s a closer look at the basics of meningioma:

How a meningioma grows

Meningioma tumors usually grow slowly, often over many years. Their slow growth may mean that small tumors cause no symptoms and might only be discovered incidentally during an examination for another condition.

The tumors are graded based on their type, location, extent of spread, and other factors. They range from Grade I to Grade III. In addition, some meningiomas may be atypical, which can affect the effectiveness of treatment. 

Risk factors and causes

The exact cause of meningiomas is not well understood, but researchers have identified several risk factors that may increase your chance of developing these tumors. These include:

  • Age (over 40)
  • Being female
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Family history or genetics
  • Personal history of breast cancer

In addition, researchers have found that being obese is linked to a higher rate of meningioma development, but the exact relationship is still being studied.

Symptoms of meningioma

The symptoms of meningioma can vary widely, depending on the size and location of the tumor. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes
  • Hearing changes

These symptoms can also be signs of other medical conditions, so a comprehensive evaluation by an expert like Dr. Reddy is essential for an accurate diagnosis.

Treating meningiomas

Surgery is the primary treatment option for meningioma, through other treatment options for meningioma vary based on your specific situation. During surgery, the goal is to remove the entire tumor, which offers the best chance for complete recovery.

Other treatments for meningioma may include:

  • Observation: If the meningioma is small and causing no symptoms, regular monitoring may be all that is needed
  • Radiation therapy: This can be used to shrink the tumor or to treat meningiomas that cannot be completely removed by surgery
  • Chemotherapy: Although rarely used to treat this type of tumor, it may be used in some instances

The right treatment for your meningioma depends on the size, location, and type of the tumor, as well as your overall health. Dr. Reddy takes these into account when creating your personalized meningioma treatment plan. 

Understanding the recurrence of meningioma

The rate of recurrence, or chance of your meningioma coming back, depends on various factors, including the type and location of the tumor and the extent of its removal. 

In cases where the meningioma was not completely removed or if it was a more aggressive form, the risk of recurrence may be higher.

For example, meningiomas that recur are more likely to be Grade II or Grade III. But even when tumors are removed completely or are Grade 1, about 24-32% of all meningiomas recur in a 15-year period. 

For this reason, regular follow-up with your neurosurgeon is essential. Dr. Reddy develops a personalized plan to monitor for any signs of recurrence. 

Learn more about meningioma care by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone today at one of our Houston-area locations: Conroe, The Woodlands, Willowbrook, Willis, and Spring, Texas.

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