May 13th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Gupta: Waiting out a meningioma

All the news about one of my favorite actresses, Mary Tyler Moore, reminded me of the first time I saw a patient with a meningioma. It was 1995. I was a junior neurosurgery resident, and my professor introduced me to a 69-year-old, perfectly healthy appearing woman. That surprised me at the time, because moments earlier, I had been reviewing her MRI scan. She had an obvious bright mass in her brain located in the right frontal lobe.

I carefully examined the movements of her eyes and face. I checked her motor strength and sensation in her four extremities and completed a full neurological exam. Her long-term memory and instant recall were intact, and she did not complain of headaches. “I wouldn’t even know it is up there,” she said, referring to her brain tumor.

This pleasant woman had been showing up at the clinic for several years, with a scan in hand to review with my professor. If the mass looked no different, and more importantly, if the patient didn’t have any neurological changes – they would simply make a date to see each other again in another year, and repeat the process. They had collectively agreed to not operate on the obvious brain tumor, but instead to watch, wait, and bank on the possibility she would never need an operation in her lifetime.

That may sound surprising, given we are talking about brain tumors. Truth is, while there are many types of brain tumors that do require urgent operations, meningiomas are often treated differently. They have such a characteristic appearance on an MRI scan, there is often little doubt when you see one. And, about nine out of 10 times, they are benign. If the tumor is relatively small, the patient is not very young, and there are no symptoms – the neurosurgeon is likely to offer the “watchful waiting” as an option.

Two years later, we did operate on the then-71-year-old woman. Her most recent scan had shown a sudden growth in the size of the mass. Worried that it might continue growing at an accelerating rate, my professor and the patient collectively agreed an operation was the best course of action.

There are other things that may have tipped the scale toward an operation. If the mass had changed in its appearance, and looked more malignant. And, of course, if our patient had started to have any symptoms such as blurriness of vision, seizures, headaches or weakness, to name a few.

These are the types of conversations and considerations Mary Tyler Moore has likely been having with her doctors over the past few years, now deciding an operation was prudent for possibly one of these reasons. By the time you read this, Ms. Moore may have already had the brain surgery necessary to remove the tumor, and may even be scheduled for radiation treatment, which is sometimes necessary if all the tumor cannot be removed. Here is wishing her a speedy recovery.

Each week, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also a practicing neurosurgeon, posts a “medical mystery” photo from inside his operating room on Twitter. Follow @SanjayGuptaCNN and tweet Dr. Gupta your best guess!

soundoff (1,497 Responses)
  1. Technician Shop Near Me

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 31, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Conversion Van Repair Shop Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Conversion Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Zisseloh

    how to use cialis cialis online without pres what is cialis pill

    June 1, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair


    June 1, 2021 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Van Frame Repair

    Hello, There's no doubt that your website might be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic website!


    June 1, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dodge Sprinter Step Repair

    I want to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…


    June 1, 2021 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Rv Upgrades Shop

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 1, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2006 Dodge Sprinter 2500 Heater Control Repair


    June 1, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Body Damage


    June 1, 2021 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. EncoxGtv

    shoppers drug mart pharmacy rx clinic pharmacy south bronx rx pharmacy

    June 1, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Utility Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    June 1, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Van Paint Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv wrap vs paint


    June 1, 2021 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. windshield repair around me

    You are so cool! I do not think I've truly read through something like this before. So wonderful to find another person with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 1, 2021 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Gregorio Barrasa

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 1, 2021 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. trailer shops near me


    June 1, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. George Cay


    June 1, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Luxury Rv Shop Near Me

    Excellent blog you've got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 1, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Gmc High Top Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. trailer parts and repair near me


    June 1, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv toilet repair

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 2, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. EncoxDev

    canadian pharmacy online androgel rx pharmacy com online pet pharmacy reviews

    June 2, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ZisseVed

    daily use cialis cost naion cialis walgreens cialis prices

    June 2, 2021 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Collision Repair

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 2, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Nissan High Top Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. solar system repair near me

    This is the perfect webpage for anyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!


    June 2, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Technician Shop

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    June 2, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv remodel companies


    June 2, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Limo Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Collision Repair

    It’s hard to find experienced people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    June 2, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. camper repair shops


    June 2, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Courier Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.


    June 2, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Conversion Shop

    Excellent write-up. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!


    June 2, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Joline Marquardt

    Great article! We are linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    June 2, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jeffry Dunt

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now 😉


    June 2, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jaime Lare


    June 2, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Content Marketing Boutique


    June 2, 2021 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv supplies near me


    June 2, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Aleshia Ribbink

    Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!


    June 2, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. motorhome repairs near me

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    June 2, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. SEO Marketing Consultant


    June 2, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. MileSwa

    cialis with dapoxetine overnight delivery australia buy cialis online in canada cheap cialis australia

    June 2, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. EncoxHtf

    cialis coupon voucher cialis 100mg review cialis brand 20 mg

    June 3, 2021 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. MileSwa

    cialis usa 365 drug cialis shop for cialis

    June 3, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Frame California

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.


    June 3, 2021 at 02:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv glass repair near me


    June 3, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. tv repair temecula ca

    Hello there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have here on this post. I will be returning to your blog for more soon.


    June 3, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. vans store orange county


    June 3, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Mercedes Sprinter Van Abs Repair

    Excellent write-up. I definitely love this site. Stick with it!


    June 3, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Leave a Reply to Suspension Repair Sprinter Van


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.