ST. PETERSBURG — Sheryl Crow was performing at Taste of Pinellas last month when, inexplicably, she forgot the words to one of her signature songs, Soak Up the Sun.
"Oh, what's the words?" she said.
Then she told the audience, "I'm 50, what can I say? My brain has gone to s---."
Now, Crow has revealed that she has a benign brain tumor that is affecting her memory. Specifically, it's a meningioma, a tumor growing in the protective lining of the brain.
Dr. Clifton Gooch, professor and chair of neurology at the University of South Florida, said such tumors are most often benign and easily treated. "It's very rare for someone to die of meningioma," he said.
But meningiomas can cause problems when they grow and put pressure on the brain. Symptoms may include vision and hearing problems, headaches that worsen over time, seizures, weakness in the arms and legs, and memory problems.
Gooch said symptoms depend on what area of the brain the tumor is pressing against. In Crow's case, her tumor is likely causing pressure on her frontal or temporal lobe.
He said treatment depends on a number of factors — size, symptoms and rate of growth. If the tumor is small and not causing problems, doctors will usually just monitor it over time.
"But if you have a situation where the tumor is causing memory problems, you would consider surgery," Gooch said.
A meningioma is not actually in the brain, but in the protective lining called the meninges, he said.
"You simply take it out, close things up, and often that will solve the problem," Gooch said. "And usually, it doesn't come back."
In 2006, the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter underwent successful treatment for breast cancer.
Richard Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3322.