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A meningioma is a tumor that arises from the meninges — the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Although not a brain tumor per se, it is described as such because it may compress or squeeze the adjacent brain, nerves and vessels. Meningioma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the head.

Signs and symptoms of a meningioma typically begin gradually and may be very subtle at first. Depending on where in the brain or,  spine the tumor is situated in, signs and symptoms may include:

Most meningiomas grow very slowly, often over many years without causing symptoms. But sometimes, their effects on nearby brain tissue, nerves or vessels may cause serious disability.

Meningiomas occur more commonly in women and are often discovered at older age, but they may occur at any age.

Because most meningiomas grow slowly, often without any significant signs and symptoms, these do not always require immediate treatment and may be monitored over time.

Meningiomas are grouped in three grades based on their characteristics.

  1. Grade 1 meningiomas are low grade tumors and are the most common. This means the tumor cells grow slowly.
  2. Grade 2 meningiomas are mid-grade tumors. This means the tumors have a higher chance of coming back after being removed. The subtypes include choroid and clear cell meningioma.
  3. Grade 3 Anaplastic meningiomas are malignant, i.e., cancerous. These are fast-growing tumors.


The first treatment for a malignant meningioma is SURGERY, if possible. The goal of surgery is to obtain tissue to determine the tumor type and to remove as much tumor as possible.

Most people with Type 2 and Type 3 meningiomas receive further treatments. After surgery, RADIATION is often recommended to delay the return of grade II and III meningiomas. Treatments may include CHEMO.  TX is decided by the patient’s CARE team based on the patient’s age, remaining tumor after surgery, tumor type, and tumor location.

Paddy Kalish OD, JD and B.Arch

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