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What are the causes of meningioma?

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Quick Answer

The causes of meningioma are not well understood, as stated by WebMD. Exposure to radiation and a genetic disorder, neurofibromatosis type 2, are prominent risk factors.

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Meningiomas have been found near skull fractures and in locations where the surrounding membrane has been scarred, suggesting injury may also be a risk factor. Most meningiomas occur in people between the ages of 30 and 70, and women are more than twice as likely as men to develop a meningioma. This statistic may be explained by research that suggests a link between meningiomas and the female hormone progesterone, notes WebMD. While most meningiomas are benign, in rare cases a meningioma may be malignant. Some meningiomas are classified as atypical, meaning they are somewhere in between benign and malignant.

While the cause remains a mystery, doctors know that meningiomas form because something has altered the cells in the meninges. These are the membranes that form a protective barrier around the brain and spinal cord, explains the Mayo Clinic. When these cells multiply rapidly, a meningioma tumor may form. Depending on where the meningioma is located, symptoms may include changes in vision; headaches that worsen with time; loss of smell, hearing or memory; seizures; and weakness in the arms or legs.

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