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Brain Surgery for Mary Tyler Moore to Remove Benign Tumor

THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Representatives for veteran TV sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore report that she entered a facility for surgery to remove a meningioma -- a type of tumor, usually benign, that can occur on the meninges, the brain's protective outer membrane.

"At the recommendation of her neurologist, who has been monitoring this for years, and a neurosurgeon, Mary decided to proceed with this fairly routine procedure," an unnamed representative for the 74-year-old actress told People magazine Thursday.

It is not clear if the surgery has already taken place or not, or how Moore is faring.

Two neurosurgeons not involved in Moore's care agreed that she is probably in no great danger from the meningioma.

"Meningiomas are one of the most common brain tumors in adults. They are benign and in many cases completely resectable [removable by surgery]," said Dr. Arno H. Fried, of the department of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. "They are slow growing and sometimes are watched for a while in order to determine if it needs to be removed. If a meningioma is large enough, causing symptoms and is growing, it should be removed. This is a common operation for a neurosurgeon who sees brain tumor cases as a significant part of their practice."

Another neurosurgeon said that doctors typically decide to operate based on the nature of the tumor and any symptoms.

"Sometimes [the tumor] is removed before the patient becomes symptomatic if we're concerned about the rate of the growth," said Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. "Symptoms are based on the location where it grows. Depending on what part of the brain the tumor is pressing against will determine the symptoms that could be as mild as headaches or seizures, or can affect movement, vision or speech."

He added that Moore's outcome after surgery is likely to be good.

"The prognosis for meningioma removal is generally very successful, and much depends on the condition of the patient before surgery, and the size and location of the tumor," Cohen said. "The vast majority of patients do well and return to their former lifestyles."

Moore is best known for her starring roles in two popular TV comedies, The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s, and the 1970s hit The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Moore was also nominated for an Oscar for her role in 1981's Ordinary People. A type 1 diabetic for many years, she is International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

More information

There's more on meningiomas at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

-- HealthDay Staff

SOURCES: Arno H. Fried, department of neurosurgery, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.; Anders Cohen, chief, neurosurgery, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; May 12, 2011, People, Associated Press

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