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A meningioma is a tumor that develops in the meninges, which is the membrane that encloses and protects the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas are small, slow-growing and noncancerous, and many do not need to be removed or otherwise treated. However, if a meningioma presses against the brain or spinal cord, surgery or another treatment may be considered to manage the resulting neurological symptoms.

How are meningiomas treated?

If a meningioma requires treatment, surgery is usually the preferred method, especially if the tumor is relatively large, fast-growing or causing symptoms. The goal of meningioma surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as safely possible, which can vary depending on the tumor’s size and location. For instance, a meningioma may be only partially removed if it is located very close to or involved with an important part of the brain, spinal cord or blood vessels.

After surgery, a meningioma can potentially come back. The risk of recurrence depends on how much of the tumor was removed and whether it was benign or malignant. If a tumor cannot be completely removed with surgery, radiation therapy may be considered to reduce the likelihood that the meningioma will grow back.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to irreparably damage and destroy tumor cells. The X-rays are precisely directed to the exact area of the brain affected by the meningioma while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy brain tissue. This treatment can be effective for meningiomas because, as compared to healthy cells, cancerous cells are less capable of repairing the damage caused by radiation.

Meningioma treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center

For the latest information about meningioma surgery and other treatments, you can consult with a brain tumor specialist in the Neuro-Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. Request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online.