How Serious Is a Meningioma
While most meningiomas are benign and grow slowly, they can become serious if they grow large enough to press on nearby tissues, nerves, or vessels

While most meningiomas are benign and grow slowly, they can become serious if they grow large enough to press on nearby tissues, nerves, or vessels in the brain. This can cause disability and even turn-life threatening.

How long can you live with a meningioma?

How long you can live with a meningioma depends on whether the tumor is benign or malignant, in addition to your age. The 5-year survival rates of this type of brain tumor can provide you an estimate of the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with a meningioma.

Benign

For noncancerous meningiomas, 5-year survival rates are encouraging:

  • Over 95% for children ages 14 and under
  • 97% in people ages 15-39 
  • Over 87% in adults ages 40 and over

Statistics report that more than 87% and up to 95% of people (depending on age group) will survive for at least 5 years after diagnosis.

Cancerous

For malignant meningioma, the 5-year survival rate is over 66%. This means over 66 out of 100 patients with malignant meningioma can expect to live for at least 5 years or more. 

The 10-year survival rate is over 59%. This means over 59 out of 100 people with the condition can expect to live for at least 10 years or more.

Surgery

Surgery is associated with better outcomes regardless of whether the tumor is benign or malignant. After removal of the entire meningioma, 5-year survival rates go over 80%, and both 10- and 15-year survival go over 70%.

What are the symptoms of a meningioma?

A meningioma does not cause symptoms until it becomes large enough and starts to press on specific parts of the brain. If this occurs, symptoms may include:

How is meningioma diagnosed?

Since meningiomas typically do not cause symptoms in the early stages, they are often found by chance when MRIs or CT scans are performed for other conditions, such as brain injury or seizures.

What are the grades of meningioma?

Meningiomas are divided into three grades depending upon their growth and chances of recurrence:

  1. Grade I (benign meningiomas): Benign meningiomas make up about 80% of all meningiomas. Most do not require treatment, and if they do, they are unlikely to grow back.
  2. Grade II (atypical meningiomas): Atypical meningiomas make up 20%-30% of all meningiomas. They grow faster and are more likely to return after treatment.
  3. Grade III (malignant meningiomas): Malignant meningiomas are rare and are a type of brain cancer with a poor outlook.

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How is meningioma treated?

Treatment is determined based on the grade, size, and location of the tumor, as well as your age and overall health. Treatment options may include:

Wait-and-see approach

Also known as active surveillance, this approach involves monitoring the meningioma for months to years without initiating treatment. This includes periodic MRIs or CT scans. Treatment is initiated only if the tumor begins to grow or causes symptoms.

This approach is adopted for tumors that are:

  • Small and not causing any symptoms
  • Completely resected atypical type

This kind of treatment approach may also be adopted for older people and for those who have other serious medical conditions.

Surgery

Surgery is the first line of treatment for tumors that are large, malignant, fast-growing or are causing symptoms. While this treatment aims to remove all of the tumor, if complete removal is impossible due to involvement of surrounding healthy brain structures, only partial removal will be performed.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy X-rays to target and destroy the tumor and. It is used for meningiomas that are likely to recur even after surgical removal. It may also be given for small tumors as an alternative to surgery.

How long is recovery after meningioma surgery?

The recovery period may be anywhere between 2-12 weeks, depending on the type of surgery and your overall health status.

After surgery, your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing will be monitored every few hours for the first 24 hours in an intensive care unit. Once normal, you will be moved to a recovery room for 2-3 days. Your hospital stay duration may be longer depending upon the difficulty of the surgery and complications, if any.

You may be put on painkillers for about 2 weeks and possibly given additional medications, such as antiseizure medications and steroids. Your doctor will tell you what activities you will need to restrict.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/13/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Meningioma: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1156552-overview

Patient education: Meningioma (Beyond the Basics) https://www.uptodate.com/contents/meningioma-beyond-the-basics

https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/meningioma/statistics