Understanding Your Symptoms
Wherever you are in the diagnosis and treatment process, you must understand any meningioma symptoms you are experiencing. Understanding what to look for can help you know what could be essential to report to your doctor. You will be more tuned into any new symptoms that may arise—learning more about your symptoms can also help you know what to expect in the time before your meningioma treatment so you aren’t caught by surprise if something new should develop.
What is Meningioma?
Once you know how meningioma develops, you’ll have a better grasp of your symptoms and which meningioma treatment may be best for you. A protective membrane called the meninges covers your brain and spinal cord. A meningioma is a tumor that develops from this membrane and can occur anywhere along the central nervous system (CNS). They can grow inward or outward from the brain, and the symptoms you experience depend on the size, location and grade of your tumor. It is worth explaining the significance of your tumor grade. Many types of tumors are classified and graded by how aggressive they are. Meningiomas can range from grade I to grade III. Grade I meningiomas are benign and slow-growing. Grade III meningiomas are aggressive and rapidly expand, even invading adjacent tissues. If you have a grade III meningioma, your symptoms may appear sooner and increase in severity faster than a patient with a benign meningioma.
What are the Symptoms?
Your meningioma symptoms will depend on multiple factors, including the size and location of your tumor. Some symptoms are common for all patients regardless of the tumor’s location. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in hearing and/or vision
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
You may experience other symptoms specific to your tumor’s location. That’s because the tumor can press on different structures, manifesting in particular symptoms.
Convexity meningioma – This type of tumor develops on the upper surface of the brain. Symptoms include seizures, headaches and neurological defects.
Falx and parasagittal meningioma – This type of tumor occurs between the brain’s two hemispheres. Symptoms include impaired reasoning, memory deficits, seizures, leg weakness or numbness.
Intraorbital meningioma – This type of tumor occurs around the eyes. Symptoms include bulging eyes and vision loss.
Intraventricular meningioma – This type of tumor forms within the brain’s ventricles, which are filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Symptoms include the build-up of CSF, hydrocephalus, headaches and impaired mental function.
Olfactory groove meningioma – This type of tumor occurs in the area between the nerves of the nose and brain. Symptoms include loss of sense of smell and vision problems.
Posterior fossa meningioma – This type of tumor occurs at the back of the brain. Symptoms include facial numbness or paralysis, hearing difficulty, problems with balance and coordination.
Sphenoid meningioma – This type of tumor develops behind the sphenoid bone of the skull, in the area behind the eyes. Symptoms include facial numbness or paralysis, vision difficulties and seizures.
Spinal meningioma – This type of tumor can form anywhere along the spinal cord. Symptoms include back pain and unexplained limb pain due to compression of nerves.
Because a meningioma can occur anywhere along the CNS, the potential symptoms are highly variable. So, it’s best if you work with a specialist in northern NJ who has experience diagnosing and treating meningiomas.
How is Meningioma Diagnosed?
Your symptoms will be essential clues to guide your doctor to your meningioma diagnosis. Diagnostic imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans, will confirm this diagnosis and give your doctor information about your tumor’s size, grade and location. In most cases, meningioma can be confirmed by MRI alone. In rare cases, your doctor may require a biopsy. Using this information, your doctor will work with you to determine your next steps.
Whether you already have your diagnosis or are still looking for answers, understanding your symptoms can help you as you move forward from this point. Self-education is a great way to prepare yourself for what to expect, which can help you feel more at ease with the process. This confidence can help you feel more comfortable along the way, reducing some of the stress you may be feeling.
As you begin to learn about meningioma treatment options available in northern NJ, continue to educate yourself and maintain an open line of discussion with your doctor. If you still have questions about your meningioma symptoms or any other aspect of your condition, be sure to bring them up with your doctor at your next appointment. He or she will be able to discuss the information here as it relates to your individual condition and can answer any questions you may have.