Carcinomatous Meningitis – Symptoms, causes, and More

1What Is Carcinomatous Meningitis?

Carcinomatous meningitis is a disease that happens when cancer cells spread to the meninges in the spinal cord and brain. The name originates from two separate medical conditions:

– Carcinomatous is a form of carcinoma, the most common type of cancer that accounts for up to 80 percent of reported cases. It typically begins in the epithelial cells that line the body cavities, organs, or skin.

– Meningitis results in inflammation in the brain or spinal cord’s lining. It may be caused by cancer, certain medications, or infections. [1]

Symptoms of Carcinomatous Meningitis

Symptoms of carcinomatous meningitis can vary, depending on the affected parts, such as the spinal cord, cranial nerves, and cerebrum. Some people might not show any signs at all. The most common symptom is a headache. It is caused by irritated meninges and increased pressure in the skull. Some people also experience nausea, which tends to become worse in the morning. Another common sign is confusion, which happens due to active cancer cells in the outermost layer of the brain called the cortex. This may lead to other symptoms, such as repeated movements, amnesia, hallucinations, euphoria, and déjà vu.

When carcinomatous meningitis affects the posterior fossa in the skull, you would experience dizziness, vomiting, nausea, vision loss, double vision, hoarseness, hearing loss, facial weakness, balance issues, as well as trouble swallowing and speaking.

When carcinomatous meningitis affects the spinal cord, back paralysis or pain and leg weakness may happen. Other signs include limb weakness, pain, dysesthesia, and segmental numbness. When the sacral nerve roots are affected, bladder and bowel dysfunction would happen. [2]


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