Sheryl Crow and Meningioma: Can You Really Be OK If You Have a Brain Tumor?

Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine
Healthy Living
Can you really be OK if you have a brain tumor? Sheryl Crow tells fans she's fine. (Photo: Matt Sayles/AP)

When news broke on Tuesday about her brain tumor, singer Cheryl Crow was quick to comfort her concerned fans.

"Hey everyone - please don't worry about my "brain tumor", it's a non-cancerous growth," Crow, 50, wrote on her Facebook page. "I know some folks can have problems with this kind of thing, but I want to assure everyone I'm OK. 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"

Her fans obviously felt better -- the post has more than 14,730 "likes" and more than 1,600 comments, most of them positive and supportive -- but one has to wonder: Can you really lead a normal life while battling a brain tumor?

Crow is a breast cancer survivor, and the type of tumor she has now is called a meningioma. They are usually benign (non-cancerous) and form in the meninges, or the protective lining, of the brain and spinal cord and grow inward toward the brain. Doctors found the tumor after the 50-year-old superstar (and mother of two) sought help for memory lapses.

"Ms. Crow speaks about memory issues, and that is definitely the kind of symptom that could be caused by this type of tumor," Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery and spine surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, told Fox News. "Generally a tumor that affects memory would be located in the left frontal lobe of the brain."

If the tumor does not grow bigger and is not interfering with a patient's quality of life, doctors often feel no need to operate or have the patient undergo radiation treatments. No one knows what causes meningiomas, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic, though they are more common in older women.

"We can be more conservative with meningiomas because they usually stay put," Cohen said. "We don't want to perform unnecessary procedures unless the tumor is growing and there is pressure on the brain, or it's creating symptoms."

The International Business Times reports that Crow's cavalier outlook has angered some people, who are calling her reassurances "uninformed" and saying she's caused "great distress" among others who have suffered from meningioma.

"My husband has a Meningioma Brain Tumor and it is very very serious," wrote Facebook user Suzanne Morse in a comment on Crow's wall on Wednesday. "He has had 3 brain surgeries that has left his body ravaged. He had to stop working in 2009 has had to undergo Proton Radiation and he and my family lives have been devastated. Please use this forum to post the truth about this terrible tumor non-cancerous does not mean not life threatening. I do wish you the best but am saddened that you are setting back all the work being done to educate the public."

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