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Glossary


Meningioma

Meningioma starts in the cells of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges). Meningiomas can be low to high grade (grades I–III). Grade I is the most common type of meningioma.

  • Meningiomas account for approximately 1 out of 3 primary brain and spinal cord tumours and are the most common brain tumour in adults.
  • In some cases, several members of the same family develop meningiomas. This is more common in people who have neurofibromatosis (a genetic condition in which benign tumours of the nerve tissue develop).

Benign meningioma

Benign meningiomas are low-grade (grade I) tumours that account for approximately 70% of all meningiomas. Benign meningiomas:

  • are the most common benign brain tumour
  • are found most often in people between the ages of 50 and 80 years
  • occur twice as often in women

Treatment

Treatment options for benign meningioma may include:

  • active surveillance
    • Doctors closely watch the tumour with regular imaging tests.
    • Treatment may begin when symptoms appear.
  • surgery
    • Surgery is used to remove all of the tumour or as much of the tumour as is possible.
  • radiation therapy
    • Radiation therapy may be given after surgery if the tumour was not completely removed (adjuvant radiation therapy).
    • It may be used as the first-line treatment for tumours that are in an area where surgery cannot be done.
    • Stereotactic radiosurgery may be used after surgery for small tumours that remain or tumours that progress.

Atypical meningioma

Atypical meningiomas are low-grade (grade II) tumours that account for approximately 15%–25% of all meningiomas. These tumours are not clearly malignant, but grow faster than benign meningiomas. Atypical meningioma may invade nearby tissue and have a tendency to recur.

Treatment

Treatment for atypical meningioma includes:

  • surgery
    • Surgery is used to remove all of or as much of the tumour as possible.
  • radiation therapy
    • Radiation therapy may be given after surgery, especially if the tumour cannot be completely removed.

Anaplastic or malignant meningioma

Anaplastic or malignant meningiomas are high-grade (grade III) tumours that account for about 1%–3% of all meningiomas. They tend to invade nearby tissue and occur more often in men.

Treatment

Treatment for anaplastic meningioma includes:

  • surgery
    • Surgery is used to remove all of the tumour or as much of the tumour as possible.
  • radiation therapy
    • Radiation therapy is given whether or not the tumour was completely removed with surgery.

Clinical trials

People with meningioma may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.

References

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