Brain tumour, meningeal tumour, meningeal neoplasm
Meninges refer to the protective membranous layer that envelope the brain and the spinal cord. Meningioma is defined as a disease, which occurs due to the development of tumours within the cells of meninges. Studies have revealed that meningiomas account for about 20 percent of the various intracranial tumours and 10 percent of spinal tumours in human beings. Most of these tumours are considered to be “benign” since they exhibit a slow growth rate and do not tend to spread. Such meningiomas, developing on the surface of the brain, results in pushing the brain instead of growing within it. However, rarely do some meningiomas show quick growth rate and exhibit cancer like phenomenon, and in such cases, they are termed as “atypical meningiomas” or “anaplastic meningiomas”. In addition to this, researchers have also found out that meningioma often forms in people with a hereditary disorder known as neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF¬-2).
The underlying cause that leads to this disease is not clearly known. However, doctors believe that such disorders may be caused due to prior exposure to ionizing radiations, neurofibromatosis type 2 (a genetic disorder) and sometimes due to previous cranial injuries.
Meningioma, during the initial stages, may be asymptomatic or may show very weak symptoms, since the growth rate of such tumours is gradual. However, with time and depending upon the site of development of such tumours, the symptoms may become predominant. The symptoms of meningioma include blurring of vision, dizziness, loss of hearing, headaches, weakness, loss of memory, loss of smell, seizures, nausea, vomiting, spasms and others.
Proper diagnosis is highly recommended for the treatment of meningioma to begin. However, due to the slow growth rate of such tumours, the diagnosis of meningioma becomes extremely difficult and such symptoms may often be mistaken for other health disorders or may be erroneously considered as simple signs of ageing.
The treatment of meningioma requires a proper diagnosis in the first place. In initial cases, the diagnosis of this disease is extremely difficult and the symptoms are often erroneously thought to be due to some other ailments or simply as signs of ageing. Due to the gradual growth of such tumours; meningioma, during its initial stages are mostly asymptomatic or may show very weak symptoms. However, with time, the symptoms may become predominant and sometimes may worsen as well. Any individual suffering from the symptoms of meningioma must immediately consult an experienced neurologist for the necessary treatments and prevention of later complications. The diagnosis of meningioma involves thorough neurological examination along with various imaging tests such as computerized tomography (CT) scan and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Once a person is diagnosed as having meningioma; he/she is subjected to proper methods of treatment which may involve surgical removal of the tumours and/or radiation therapy. The treatment for such cases depends on the size and position of the meningioma, its growth rate and the health condition of the patient undergoing this treatment.
For initial stages of meningioma, the doctor might not feel it necessary for surgical treatment if the size of the tumours is small and the growth rate is slow. However, for such patients, regular periodic check-ups and scanning are necessary in order to monitor the size and growth rate of the meningioma. In case, the tumour is seen to grow, the doctor might recommend for surgical treatment and/or radiotherapy.
Complete removal of the tumours by surgery may not be always possible since it may adversely affect the delicate brain cells. In such cases, the doctor might recommend for regular follow up scans in order to track the growth of the portion of meningioma that could not be surgically removed. In case of atypical or malignant meningioma, the doctor recommends for radiation therapy in addition to surgical treatment..
Meningioma, during its initial stages do not show any significant symptoms. However, at later stages, the symptoms may become predominant and may even worsen in some cases. In initial cases, where the meningioma is usually small in size and is having a slow growth rate, may not require any significant treatment as such. For such patients, a regular scanning is recommended in order to track the growth rate of the tumours. However, patients who are suffering from serious symptoms of this disorder and is seen to have steadily growing meningioma may be deemed as eligible for this treatment.
Any individual, who is not reported as having tumours developing from his/her meninges or is not seen to suffer from the symptoms of meningioma, is not eligible for this treatment.
For the treatment of the problem of meningioma, the doctors often recommend for surgical treatment which is followed by radiation therapy (if deemed as necessary). The possible side effects of radiation therapy include stomach problems, mild skin reactions, weakness, change in hormonal levels, cognitive problems such as loss of memory and/or decrease in intellectual performance and other neurological problems. Some of these side effects often disappear soon after the treatment ends. However, children under the age of 5 years are not recommended for such radiation therapy because such a therapy can lead to serious damage to their brain cells.
Meningioma is a type of disease which has high chances of reoccurrence. This is because, complete removal of the tumour cells may not be always possible and the remaining cells tend to multiply later, thereby resulting in reoccurrence of the problem. For this reason, a follow-up care is highly necessary. The post-treatment guidelines for the problem of meningioma include taking rest, regular intake of the prescribed medicines on time, maintaining a healthy diet as recommended and visiting the doctor regularly for routine check-ups. The follow-up care involves physical examinations as well as various medical tests. This is highly important in order to track the recovery of the patient who has undergone this treatment. Patients who have been treated for benign meningioma are advised for yearly check-ups unlike those who were treated for more aggressive tumours and may require visiting their doctor more frequently.
The treatment of the problem of meningioma is achieved by surgery as well radiation therapy. Once the patient comes to a stable condition (after the treatment is over), the concerned neurologist will discharge him/her from the hospital for recovery at home. During this period, the patient needs to follow certain restrictions so that he/she can recover and heal from the surgery. For some patients, the time of recovery may be about 2 to 4 weeks, whereas for others the period of recovery may range from 6 to 12 weeks. This time for recovery varies from person to person depending upon the seriousness of the condition.
The price of treatment for meningioma varies in different parts of India. On an average, the cost of treatment of this problem ranges from Rs. 356,500 to Rs. 398,100 for each patient. However, the price of such treatments is generally lower in government subsidised hospitals as compared to the private health centres.
The disease of meningioma has high chances of reoccurrence even after the treatment is done. This is so because, complete removal of the tumours is not possible in many cases, as this can adversely affect the brain cells. The remaining cells of tumours may grow with time and hence result in the problem to reoccur. The treatment of meningioma by surgery and radiotherapy ensures partial recovery only. Such patients need to follow the necessary restrictions as advised by the doctor and must visit them for routine check-ups even after recovery. This should be done in order to keep track regarding the growth of the tumour cells that could not be removed during the process of treatment.