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. King Miles


    June 12, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rene Cryar

    Hello there! This article couldnít be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this information to him. Fairly certain he'll have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 12, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Hans Poppell


    June 12, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Cierra Landowski

    You are so interesting! I don't suppose I've truly read something like this before. So nice to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    June 12, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. malls near me


    June 12, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. lenscrafters near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 12, 2021 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tow truck near me


    June 12, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. seafood near me


    June 12, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. printers near me

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 12, 2021 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. EncoxAni

    certified cipa canadian pharmacies Trandate online pharmacy fedex overnight shipping

    June 12, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. barbers near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. waterfalls near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. asian market near me

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 12, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. papa johns near me


    June 12, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. cleaners near me

    Hi! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím definitely happy I came across it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    June 12, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Zisseloh

    how to take cialis drug interactions with cialis side effects of cialis 5 mg

    June 12, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. spirit halloween near me

    Hi there! This post couldnít be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to send this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 12, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. same day results covid testing near me


    June 12, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. daycare near me

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people don't speak about these issues. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 13, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. churches near me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.


    June 13, 2021 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. korean bbq near me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 13, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. tv repair near me

    There is definately a lot to learn about this issue. I really like all the points you have made.


    June 13, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. gun store near me

    Hey there! I simply would like to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you've got right here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 13, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. metro pcs near me


    June 13, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. EncoxHtf

    cialis 2.5mg reviews cheap generic cialis canada cialis for bph

    June 13, 2021 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. buy here pay here near me


    June 13, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. indian restaurants near me


    June 13, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. nail salon near me


    June 13, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. chinese near me


    June 13, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. big lots near me


    June 13, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. apartments for rent near me


    June 13, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. baskin robbins near me

    Good site you've got here.. Itís difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 13, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. best breakfast near me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the website is very good.


    June 13, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. bakeries near me

    Excellent write-up. I definitely love this website. Continue the good work!


    June 13, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. wells fargo near me


    June 13, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jimmy johns near me


    June 13, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. instant covid testing near me


    June 13, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. macys near me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always useful to read through content from other authors and use a little something from other web sites.


    June 13, 2021 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. CrulkAsd

    generic cialis us pharmacy cialis from safeway best prices cialis 20mg

    June 13, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. movies near me


    June 13, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. office max near me


    June 13, 2021 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. hotel near me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It's always useful to read through articles from other writers and practice something from their websites.


    June 13, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. nintendo switch near me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be useful to read content from other writers and use something from other sites.


    June 13, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. verizon store near me


    June 13, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. strip clubs near me

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 13, 2021 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. kohls near me


    June 13, 2021 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. starbucks near me

    Great post. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    June 13, 2021 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ford dealership near me


    June 13, 2021 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. bicycle shop near me


    June 13, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. things to do near me


    June 13, 2021 at 22:58 | 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 window cleaning Denver


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.