Meningioma treatment depends on several factors. These include:
- Its location
- If it's cancerous or not
- The patient’s health and treatment preferences
Most meningiomas are treated with surgery. If your tumor is not cancer and is in a part of your brain where surgeons can safely and fully remove it, surgery may be your best treatment option. Afterwards, your physician may monitor you with imaging tests to see if the tumor comes back.
Meningioma Treatment Options
In most cases, your healthcare provider will want to remove the tumor if it is growing or causing symptoms. But, sometimes, surgery may be too risky. Surgery may not be an option if the tumor is near a vital brain structure or blood vessel, for instance.
During surgery, your surgeon will remove as much of the tumor as they can. They may also use:
- An MRI to help guide the surgery
- A special microscope to see the tumor and your brain better
You may need radiation if your surgeon cannot fully remove the tumor. In some cases, radiation can shrink what is left of the tumor. It may also help prevent the tumor from spreading to nearby tissues.
Some healthcare providers recommend radiation even if the whole tumor is removed during surgery. Radiation can help keep the tumor from coming back. Tumors often grow back after surgery.
Chemotherapy is medication therapy. Scientists are currently looking at medications to see if they work against meningiomas. To receive these medications, you may need to sign up for a study.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe other medications to treat symptoms caused by the tumor. Medications can help seizures, excessive vomiting, weakness and vision issues.
Your healthcare provider may suggest watching and waiting. Many meningiomas do not cause symptoms and grow slowly, so treatment is not always needed right away.
Your physician may recommend observation if you:
- Have a small tumor that is not causing symptoms
- Have a few symptoms, but little to no swelling in the brain
- Have mild symptoms and a history of tumors that do not negatively affect your quality of life
- Are an older adult with a slow-growing tumor or other health conditions that make surgery or radiation too risky
- Cannot have other treatments due to risk factors
- Choose not to have surgery
If your physician recommends this approach, you should tell them if you develop symptoms. They will also do imaging tests regularly to check for any changes in the tumor.