Treatment Options For People With A Meningioma

Meningiomas are a type of brain tumor that grows out of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. They can cause headaches, seizures and other symptoms, depending on the location of the tumor.

The type and grade of the meningioma (the tumor’s growth rate and potential for recurrence) affect how it is treated. Surgery is the standard treatment for grade 1 and 2 meningiomas, but for grade 3 tumors, radiotherapy is more often used.

Surgery

Surgery is the primary meningioma treatment option, because it can remove all of a tumor’s cells. It is also the best way to get rid of tumors that are difficult to remove by other means, such as a meningioma that is located near the optic nerve or cranial nerves.

The type of meningioma you have will affect your choice of surgery. Those that grow on the surface of the brain (convexity) are easier to remove than those found at the skull base, or in the blood vessels within the brain (sagittal sinus or cavernous sinus).

Other types of meningiomas include intraventricular and intraorbital (about the eye openings). These tumors chunk the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and cause hydrocephalus, pains and faintness. They can likewise develop in the spine and source back pain or paralysis from density of the spinal anxieties.

Neurosurgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have particular expertise in treating meningiomas that are found anywhere on the brain, such as in the sagittal sinus or the optic nerve sheath. If a meningioma is located in these areas, it will usually be removed with a surgical procedure called a craniotomy.

Surgeons use micro instruments to carefully cut open the meninges and remove the growth, while avoiding the spinal cord and important nerves. This is done through a small incision, usually made in the skull for a meningioma on the surface of the brain.

Before you undergo surgery, your healthcare provider will do a preoperative check-up to make sure that you are healthy for the procedure. They will give you tests and take your vital signs.

Then, your care team will send the results of these tests to your surgeon. Often, these tests will also help determine the extent of your tumor and the best meningioma treatment plan for you.

If you have a meningioma that has spread to other parts of the body, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. The radiation from the x-rays or other particles will destroy tumor cells and reduce your symptoms. Radiation therapy is often given as a single treatment or in combination with other treatments.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy to destroy any remaining tumor cells and reduce the chance that they can recur. It can be used to treat meningiomas that are too large for surgery, and it may also be used to treat small remnants of the tumor after surgery.

The first thing your doctor will do is determine what type of treatment is best for you. This is done through a process called multidisciplinary therapy, where doctors from different specialties work together to develop your care plan. Your team may include a neurosurgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist and other specialists.

There are several different types of radiation therapies that your doctor can use to treat your meningioma. Your doctor will consider the size and location of your tumor when choosing which one is right for you.

Conventional radiotherapy, or external beam irradiation, is the most common kind of radiation therapy for meningioma treatment. It usually involves using a large machine to aim a series of powerful beams at the tumor.

If the meningioma is very large, it might be better to use a more intensive treatment called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). SRS can destroy a tumor that’s too big for surgery and it can also be used to treat a meningioma that recurs after treatment.

Another kind of radiation therapy is fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT). FSRT uses computer software to adjust how much of the tumor is exposed to radiation, so the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue is lower. It can be used for meningiomas that are very close to sensitive brain structures, such as the optic nerves.

For some kinds of meningiomas, doctors might use proton beam radiation to target the tumor and reduce damage to surrounding normal tissue. This technique is especially helpful for tumors that have a complex shape and can’t be treated with conventional radiation therapy.

There is a lot of research on radiation therapy for meningiomas, and doctors are continuing to find out more about this treatment. They’re also looking for ways to improve it. They’re hoping to find treatments that can treat meningiomas more quickly and effectively, as well as less invasive treatments that don’t cause serious side effects.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is an option for some meningiomas that don’t respond to surgery or radiation therapy. It can also be used to treat recurrent or regrowing tumors. It may be given in different doses or at a different pace than other treatments.

Your doctor will talk with you about the best treatment plan for you based on your age, gender and medical history. Your plan will include options for treating the tumor and managing symptoms if they develop. It may also include care for side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.

Surgical removal is the most common type of treatment for meningiomas. This is done by a neurosurgeon, who performs a procedure called a craniotomy (Fig. 1). This surgery involves opening the skull and removing part or all of the tumor. During the surgery, samples of tumor cells are taken (biopsy) and examined by a pathologist under a microscope to confirm the tumor’s type, grade and whether it is malignant or benign.

Radiation therapy is often used after surgical removal to kill any remaining cancerous cells and reduce recurrences. It can be given as a single dose or in multiple, smaller doses over five to six weeks. This is a less damaging schedule for nearby healthy tissue than larger, individual doses of radiation therapy.

Other kinds of treatment include chemotherapy, which is given to the entire body or the brain. It may be used to treat a large meningioma or a small one that hasn’t grown enough to cause symptoms or damage other parts of the brain.

The chemotherapy drugs used to treat meningiomas are similar to those used to treat other types of cancer. They attack the cancer cells, which are usually in clusters. This helps stop them from growing and spreading, which is important in controlling the growth of a meningioma.

Your treatment may also include other medications to help manage side effects of the cancer, such as steroids to reduce swelling and edema around the tumor or anticonvulsants to control seizures. Your doctor will work with you to find the right medication for you and help you cope with the side effects of your treatment.

Palliative care

Palliative care is an individualized approach to medical and psychosocial support that helps people manage their symptoms and side effects while improving quality of life. It is often used in conjunction with cure-directed treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Palliative care helps people feel better by relieving symptoms, and providing psychological, social, spiritual, and emotional support. It is offered in hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities and at home under the direction of a licensed health care provider.

It can be helpful to begin palliative care early in the course of your illness, as it can help you better control symptoms and make treatment decisions aligned with your values, goals and preferences. If you’re unsure about starting palliative care, talk to your physician and find out more about this option.

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for people with cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating their symptoms and stress. It also focuses on the needs of families and caregivers.

Patients with a brain tumor may benefit from this kind of care. It can help them manage the pain, anxiety and other symptoms of their condition as well as cope with the side effects of treatment, such as fatigue or difficulty sleeping.

Caregivers often struggle with the additional responsibilities they have to take on as a result of a loved one’s illness. Palliative care specialists can connect them to resources that will help them relieve the strain they are feeling, such as connecting them with a support group or organizing family members to fill out paperwork and do chores around the house.

In the end, palliative care can be a valuable part of the treatment process for people with meningioma and their families. It helps to ensure that everyone is able to cope with their diagnosis in a way that is comfortable and rewarding for them.

Patients should be referred to a palliative care specialist at any point during their treatment journey. However, palliative care should be started as soon as possible after a diagnosis to best support the patient’s physical and emotional health.

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