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A menigioma is a type of tumor that grows on the meninges. They are usually found in the brain, but can appear anywhere in the body where there are nerves. For example, in Words and Deeds, the patient had an meningioma on his spine. About 90% are benign and asymptomatic, although they can be malignant and even benign tumors can be responsible for numerous neurological symptoms. Athough they tend to run in families, the highest risk group is individuals who have received radiation exposure to the scalp. Although the term is often used as synonymous with brain tumor, not all brain tumors are meningiomas.
The symptoms of a meningioma are usually the result of the pressure of the tumor pressing on part of the brain. This can lead to seizures, loss of control of muscles, loss of language use, and a wide variety of other neurological symptoms. Diagnosis is usually with a CT Scan with contrast.
Symptomatic menigiomas are usually treated like any other cancer. However, if a meningioma is found and is asymptomatic, treatment is usually contra-indicated as the possible treatments may cause more damage than the tumor will. Instead, the patient will usually be monitored and observed with education about possible symptoms that would rate a visit to a hospital.
Surgery is usually the preferred course of treatment when necessary as resection of the tumor usually results in a permanent fix. Inoperable tumors can usually be treated with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is usually ineffective.