Meningioma: The Benign Growth That Causes Migraine Symptoms

 

Women are often at a higher risk of certain medical conditions than men. For instance, the majority of people with fibromyalgia happen to be women. And there’s another condition that affects women that you should be aware of: meningioma.

Meningioma is a growth in the tissue that lines the spine and brain. It’s usually benign, but can often be dangerous. That means being aware of the symptoms and what you can do about is important. So what do you need to know about meningioma? And what can you do to treat it?

What Is a Meningioma?

The meninges is a type of membrane that covers the vital areas of your nervous system. This area includes the spinal cord and the inside of the skull. And sometimes, the cells in the meninges begin to multiply rapidly. As a result, they grow into a tumor within the tissue. We don’t know exactly what causes someone to develop these kinds of tumors. But we do know that women are affected at roughly twice the rate as men. And women are also diagnosed with fibromyalgia more frequently than men. So if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, then you may be at a higher risk of developing a tumor.

Most cases (around 90%) are benign, which means they aren’t dangerous. But occasionally, the cells begin to multiply so rapidly that they destroy the other cells. In these cases, the tumor is said to have “metastasized” and becomes a cancerous growth called a carcinoma. Carcinomas can spread through the brain and even into the lungs.

A carcinoma in the meninges is an extremely serious condition that can easily lead to death. And even benign tumors can be cause for concern when they begin pressing on the nerves or into the brain. So it’s important to be aware of some of the early symptoms.

Symptoms tend to develop gradually as the tumor grows. The most common symptoms are persistent headaches, weakness in the arms and legs, blurred vision, speech problems, and even seizures. These symptoms are usually the result of the tumor pressing on the brain or nerves, which can gradually damage them.

If you develop these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to order a CAT scan which will reveal the existence of the tumor. Your doctor may then want to perform a biopsy, where they remove a small amount of the tumor to tell if it is cancerous or not.

How Is It Treated?

If the tumor is not cancerous, whether or not you need treatment will depend on where the tumor is. If it’s near an important area or likely to grow into an important part of the brain, it may have to be removed. And if a meningioma¬†is causing serious symptoms like seizures, then it may need to be removed as well.

But more often, treatment for a benign tumor involves simply monitoring the tumor to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger or begin to threaten the brain.

In cases when the tumor is cancerous, there are a number of treatments that will probably be necessary. The first step is removal. But whether that is possible will depend on where the tumor is located. Most tumors are removed by sawing a portion of the skull away so that the surgeon can reach the tumor and then cut it out.

But tumors in areas that a surgeon can’t get to are often harder to treat. In the case of a cancerous tumor that can’t be removed surgically, your doctor may instead try chemotherapy. Chemotherapy consists of using chemicals to shrink the tumor and kill cancerous cells. But the problem with using chemotherapy is that the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain can often prevent the flow of the chemotherapy drugs into the brain, which makes them less effective for treating this kind of tumor.

Instead, you may be prescribed radiation therapy, where targeted radiation is used to shrink the tumor in the same way that chemotherapy drugs would. There are a number of different kinds of radiation therapies. And which one your doctor will use depends on where the tumor is located.

And your treatment might consist of using both techniques as a surgeon removes as much of the tumor as they can and then uses chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the rest of it.

So, do you suffer from a meningioma? Do you think it could be related to fibromyaglia? Let us know in the comments.

 

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