Six years after being treated for breast cancer with radiation and surgery, singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow announced on Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with meningioma, a type of benign brain tumor.
Last month while performing in Florida, 50-year-old Crow forgot the lyrics of her popular song Soak Up The Sun and “knew something was wrong.”
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“I worried about my memory so much that I went and got an MRI. And I found out I have a brain tumor,” Crow told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And I was, like, ‘See? I knew there was something wrong!'”
Her previous battle with breast cancer is not related.
“Breast cancer doesn’t make you more susceptible to meningiomas,” explained Anders Cohen, M.D., Chief of Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, in an interview with USA Today. “Some meningiomas are estrogen sensitive. They are usually very, very slow growing. They may start out the size of a pinhead. When women hit menopause, they get these hormonal swings and the tumor may start growing,”
What is a meningioma?
Meningioma brain tumors occur in the meninges, the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain. Most are benign, but rare cases of cancerous meningioma have been reported. Occasionally, this type of tumor is classified as atypical, meaning it is neither benign nor cancerous, but something in between.
They occur mostly in older women, but do appear in men of all ages.
They meningioma brain tumors are often asymptomatic and often found during routine exams or when searching for an explanation to reported symptoms.
When symptoms are present, they include:
- Memory loss
- Changes in vision
- Hearing loss
- Weakness in extremities
“Ms. Crow speaks about memory issues, and that is definitely the kind of symptom that could be caused by this type of tumor,” Cohen said to Lifeline Live, “We usually don’t remove benign tumors unless they are sizable or cause symptoms.”
No one is certain what causes cells in the meninges to multiply out of control, causing tumors, but according to medical studies, people most at risk are:
- Women, especially 48 and older.
- People undergoing radiation therapy.
- People with neurofibromatosis type 2, an inherited nervous system disorder.
For small, slow-growing tumors with few symptoms, treatment means careful monitoring at home with little medical intervention. For an individual with a growing meningioma or one that is causing severe issues, surgical intervention or radiation therapy is often indicated.
In benign cases, such as Crow’s, prognosis is good and only mild symptoms are anticipated.
It is unclear whether Sheryl Crow had or will have surgery to remove the tumor.
After news broke, Crow posted in her Facebook public page a message to fans: “Hey everyone – please don’t worry about my ‘brain tumor’– it’s a non-cancerous growth. I know some folks can have problems with this kind of thing, but I want to assure everyone I’m okay. I’m feeling very healthy and happy, and having a great time on the road playing with my new band. I’m busy working on my next record too, which ‘m very excited about… and I’ll be on The Tony Awards this Sunday. Really appreciate everyone’s love and concern, I feel so blessed to have the support of all my fans, but I’m good – really! Love, Sheryl Crow.”
Crow’s rep, Christine Wolff, said to the Associated Press that the singer is doing great and is healthy and happy.