Meningioma is a commonly occurring brain tumour in Singapore and the most common primary central nervous system (CNS) tumour. Meningiomas are formed from the meninges, specifically, the meningothelial (arachnoid) cells.
Meninges protect the CNS by anchoring the brain and preventing excessive movement that will compromise brain stability. When a mutation occurs in these membranes, a meningioma develops.
Whist meningiomas are often benign (non-cancerous) and slow-growing; depending on the location and grade, they can cause significant neurological issues. This ultimately means one’s bodily functions can be severely altered. Below are the types of meningiomas, their grades, and classifications:
|Noncancerous tumours with distinct borders. Tend to be slow-growing and may not exhibit any symptoms.
|Mid-grade tumours with a higher likelihood of recurrence.
|Cancerous tumours that are significantly rare, with chances of metastasising to the lungs, bone, liver, lymph nodes, and kidneys.
The exact cause of meningioma is unknown. Meningiomas are fundamentally a product of genetic mutations, particularly abnormalities in chromosomes such as the NF2 gene. There are, however, some factors that may increase the risks of meningiomas.
The symptoms exhibited by meningiomas vary depending on the size, location, and exact region of the brain it impacts. Some of the symptoms may include:
In most cases, meningiomas are asymptomatic; thus, patients rarely face discomfort or pain in the early stages. However, as the tumour grows, symptoms of pain are usually derived from headaches at the site of tumour growth.
Certain elements can magnify the risk of meningiomas, which include:
It is typical for meningiomas to be identified when one is under examination for other health reasons, such as abrupt behavioural changes and worsening vision. With a neurologist, a set of diagnostic tests will be conducted to confirm the meningiomas diagnosis:
Depending on the type and size of the tumour, the treatment approach may vary. Some of the treatment options currently available are:
A meningioma is classified as “large” when it is 3-5 centimetres in diameter. These are typically grade II meningiomas.
The outlook is generally positive where noncancerous meningiomas are concerned, with an estimated 8 out of 10 being completely cured. The life expectancy of meningioma patients will differ according to age and health status. Where malignant meningiomas are concerned, the 5-year survival rate is over 67%, while the 10-year survival rate is about 61%.
A discussion with your neurosurgeon is pertinent to gauge the exact prognosis for your specific case. Do not be disheartened by a meningioma diagnosis. The prognosis for meningiomas has improved over time due to increasingly new research and techniques for managing the condition. More often than not, you will recover and lead a normal life.