A meningioma is a tumor that arises from the meninges — the membranes that surround and cover your brain and spinal cord inside the skull. Meningioma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the head.
90% of meningioma is benign, some can be cancerous.
Benign meningioma usually go slowly, over many years without causing symptoms. But in some instances, their effects on adjacent brain tissue, nerves or vessels may cause serious disability.
Because most meningiomas grow slowly, often without any significant signs and symptoms, they do not always require immediate treatment and may be monitored over time.
A meningioma may occur at any age, but most commonly in women at older ages.
Risk factors for a meningioma include:
- Radiation treatment. Radiation therapy that involves radiation to the head may increase the risk of a meningioma.
- Female hormones. Meningiomas are more common in women, leading doctors to believe that female hormones may play a role. Some studies have also suggested a link between breast cancer and meningioma risk related to the role of hormones.
- An inherited nervous system disorder. The rare disorder neurofibromatosis 2 increases the risk of meningioma and other brain tumors.
- Obesity. A high BMI (body mass index) is an established risk factor for many types of cancers, and a higher prevalence of meningiomas among obese persons has been observed in several large studies. But the relationship between obesity and meningiomas is not clear.