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Almost a quarter of all brain tumours in adults are meningiomas. They are most common in older people and in women; they are very rare in children.

What is a Meningioma?

Meningioma brain tumours form in the set of three membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord just inside the skull. The majority of meningiomas are low grade and slow growing, however, some do not behave as expected and can be more aggressive.

The three membranes where meningiomas grow are called the Meninges, more specifically, the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater.

What causes Meningiomas?

As with most brain tumours, the cause of meingiomas is not known. Exposure to radiation is the only known environmental risk. A small number of brain tumours are caused by rare genetic conditions - the rare condition neurofibromatosis type 2 is known to increase the risk of meningioma and other brain tumours.

Meningiomas and hormones

Some meningiomas have specialised cells (receptors) that interact with hormones, including progesterone, androgen, and oestrogen. It has been observed that occasionally meningiomas can grow faster during pregnancy. Research is looking at the role of hormones in the growth of meningiomas to understand the significance of this.

Types of Meningioma brain tumour

Brain tumours are graded from 1 - 4, according to what they look like under the microscope as well as their behaviour, such as the speed at which they are growing.

Meningiomas can be graded 1, 2 or 3.

Grade 1 Meningioma – the most common type, slow growing and less likely to return after treatment.

Grade 2 Meningioma – slow growing but may be more likely to recur after treatment.

Grade 3 Meningioma – very rare type, faster growing and has a higher chance of returning after treatment.

Questions you may want to ask your doctor

  • What is the grade of my meningioma? What does this mean?
  • How many patients with a meningioma do you treat each year?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to get rid of the tumour, to help me feel better, or both?
  • What are the potential complications of each treatment?
  • Are there long-term complications I should know about?
  • Do I need to have treatment now?
  • Do I need to make a decision about my treatment straight away? How long can I wait?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • If I have any questions or concerns at any stage, who is my key worker/specialist nurse and how do I get in touch with them?
  • Are there any printed materials or leaflets that I can take with me? What organisations do you recommend?

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:

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