What is meningioma?
It is a tumor that arises from meninges. The meninges are the layers that cover the brain and the spine. A tumor arising from the cells of the meninges is known as meningioma. It may compress the nerves or the blood vessels near to it. Most of the meningiomas grow slowly over many years and do not show any significant signs. However, sometimes it may manifest serious complications. You must consult a doctor if you observe any symptoms such as headache, vision changes or seizures.
Usually, the symptoms of meningioma include:
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Loss of sense of smell
- Headache worsening with time
- Weakness in arms or legs
- Hearing loss or ringing sensation
The exact causes of meningioma are not known. The only possible cause seen is inheritance of genes. However, there might be some risk factors involved:
- Gender: women are more prone to the condition than men. This is because the presence of female hormones influence the probability of having meningioma. Researchers have also claimed to know a relation between breast cancer and meningioma.
- Radiation: if there is a history of radiation therapy to head, it poses a risk for meningioma.
- Obesity: there is a high risk for meningioma if someone is obese. This is attributed by high Body-mass index (BMI)
- If no signs or symptoms are seen, the suggested approach is to wait and watch without any treatment.
- In case, the tumor started manifesting symptoms, surgery is recommended so that it does not cause any damage to surrounding structures.
- Radiation therapy is also used in cases, where the tumor is metastatic and to remove the leftover cells during the surgery.
- Chemotherapy is rarely used for meningiomas. It may be used where surgery or radiotherapy did not respond.
Rebati Rajbhandari Joshi from Nepal had a splitting headache for which he tried several therapies in vain. Finally, he stumbled upon the website of Vaidam Health which helped him booked an appointment with Dr. Aditya Gupta at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon. Since, his tumor was non-spreading, he was advised to have a surgical removal. The surgery was done successfully without any remanents left in the brain. When contacted recently, it was found that he continues to be non-symptomatic and healthy.
Recurrence rate of meningiomas
Unfortunately, recurrence rate of meningioma is significant. Following factors might be associated with the recurrence:
- Success of the surgery
- Grade of the tumor
- Size, location and number of tumors
- Age and general health of the patient
Success of the surgery: It is important to remove the entire tumor along the with healthy margins. The surgeon needs to perform a post-operative scan after few days to make sure the tumor is excised completely. However, there are chances of recurrence in the next 10 or 20 years if any tumor cells are left. There is a high success rate due to the latest techniques available in some of the best hospitals for meningioma surgery in India.
Cost: The price for the surgery varies in different parts of India. The average cost of meningioma treatment in India is around USD 5500.
Grade of the tumor: Most of the meningiomas are grade 1. This means they appear non-spreading and minimally invasive under the microscope. However, in some cases where the brain is involved, a few cells may be present, that are dead cells but have a feature of metastasis. Due to this feature, they may recur later in life.
Radiation therapy: If radiotherapy is used after the surgery to remove the remanent cells, the chances are greatly reduced for recurrence.
Age and general well-being of the patient: This determines the ability and speed of recovery from the tumor. If the body has good immune power, the chances of recurrence is reduced.