A meningioma is a tumor of the protective lining (meninges) around the brain and spinal cord.


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The exact cause is not known. Genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

Meningiomas are more common in women, older adults, and people who are Black.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having a parent, sibling, or child with meningioma
  • Having neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)
  • Exposure to radiation


Some people may not have symptoms. Sometimes a tumor can press on the brain and spinal cord. Some common symptoms may be:

  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in vision, smell, or hearing
  • Problems speaking, writing, and understanding language
  • Nausea or vomiting

There may also be other problems depending on where the tumor is located.


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. A neurological exam will also be done.

Images may be taken to look for tumors. This can be done with:

A biopsy of the tumor may be done to confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment will depend on the size of the tumor and where it is. A person's age and overall health will also play a role.

People who do not have symptoms may only need to have the tumor watched for changes. Others may need:


Surgery may be done if the tumor is getting larger or causing problems. The tumor and some of the tissue around it will be removed.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells and stop the tumor from growing. It may be an option for people who cannot have surgery. It may also be used after surgery has been done.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be an option for people who have not been helped by other methods.


There are no current guidelines to lower the risk of this health problem.


National Brain Tumor Society
National Cancer Institute


Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada


Buerki RA, Horbinski CM, et al. An overview of meningiomas. Future Oncol. 2018;14(21):2161-2177.
Khader Eliyas J, Lukas RV, et al. Challenge case report: a woman with a large dural-based lesion. Practical Neurology. Nov/Dec 2018. Available at: Accessed April 2, 2020.
Meningioma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated November 19, 2018. Accessed April 7, 2020.
Rydzewski NR, Lesniak MS, Chandler JP, et al. Gross total resection and radiotherapy most significant predictors of of improved survival in patients with atypical meningioma. Cancer. 2017; doi: 10.1002/cncr.31088 [EPub ahead of print]
Sergentanis TN, Tsivgoulis G, Perlepe C, et al. Obesity and the risk for brain/CNS tumors, gliomas and meningiomas: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Sep2;10(9).
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 4/7/2020

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