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METASTASIS TO THE BRAIN-GAMMA KNIFE RADIATION

nubis's picture
nubis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mar 2008

My husband now 34 years old. He is facing Lung Cancer since Oct 2007. Today he has metastasis to the brain and have had 2 times gamma knife radiation. Since last treatment I noticed he has some short memory loss. This is something temporary? Does anybody in this group have had this treatment? Thank you,

Nubis

58carol
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2010

I do noy know but would like to be kept updated. I have sclc that has mets to the brain. They are doing radition now if it does not work they will use the gamma knife. I will have 14 treatments and I have finished two. I talked to a woman in the waiting room whos husband had that done. She only said that it worked well for him.
sorry I can not tell you more,
God watch over Joy

nubis's picture
nubis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mar 2008

I'm sorry I did not respond your message before. I was depressed and very busy with my job and taking care of Rafael. I work Monday through Friday 40 hours. I'm a General Clerk so I spend 90% of my time in the computer. But I don't have access to the Internet to check my e-mail. So sometimes after being all day in the computer the last thing you want to do is check your e-mail at home. I just want to rest. Well..... first I need to cook, then clean my kitchen- check messages- bills- my to do list of course my husband and the last thing is me...How was your treatment?

Oly
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2003

Yes, I had a Gamma Knife procedure in 11/2009, on three brain tumors metastasized from a 2002 Colon cancer and had beeen told there would be no side or after effects to trouble me. That turned out not to be the case. In fact, the procedure caused rather severe disturbance and swelling especially to my speech center and Cerbellum. This possibly led to another stroke on the day after Thankskiving (mild, thank God).

Since then 3 additional tumors have required "whole head" radiation therapy, recently completed, with little to no discomfort or interference except for hair follicles!

John_32's picture
John_32
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2010

My wife had a one-week treatment of whole brain radiation last week and is now recovering. The radiation was for brain metastasis of her breast cancer. After she began having seizures, a scan showed that she had four lesions in her brain. The doctors indicated that whole brain radiation was the only treatment option available to her and that it was a one-time only procedure. Is whole brain radiation really the end of the road in terms of treatment?

nubis's picture
nubis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mar 2008

Dear John!
Thank your for your comment. My husband had whole brain radiation on 2008 to prevent mets in his brain. His brain was clear at that time. At the end of the year he experienced the first seizure. Diagnostic: Mets in the brain. I asked: But you gave him the whole radiation "to prevent them?" But cancer is uncertain and the theory and reality sometimes don't match. So he had his first treatment of Gamma knife and after some months another seizure. More mets. This cancer was really mad and say hey!!! I'm still here. Again gamma knife on march of this year. (you can see my full story on my page). Now he is taking steroids because he is presenting scars and they are not really sure if they are lesions of just scars that are swollen. Our options is to keep on the steroids and the anti-seizure medicine because more radiation is not recommendable. He is presenting short memory loss and I'm scared. I just keep praying for a miracle!

Nubis

John_32's picture
John_32
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2010

It feels better to know there is someone out there going through something so similar-though of course I wish none of us ever had to experience any of this. Just a couple of months ago we thought my wife only had Stage 0 breast cancer and that the cancer had been removed...and now she is Stage 4 and has brain cancer. They said because of the number of lesions, they would not do gamma knife, but only whole brain. She has been on steroids also (dexamethasone) to control the seizures, but they are weaning her off of it. I am just concerned that they don't seem to be offering any additional treatment, as if there is nothing they can do, which just seems inconceivable. I too pray for a miracle-we haven't even reached our second anniversary and I had hoped we would spend a lifetime together.

nubis's picture
nubis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mar 2008

Dear John!
I know exactly how you feel. I was 27 years old and my husband 31 when he was diagnosed. I married my husband on 2005 and he was diagnosed 2007. All our plans... having kids. to buy a house... do a career in this country where you can make your dreams true... well this is my reality..... dealing with insurance.... doctor's appointments... taking days off to take my husband to the doctor and not for vacations ....... My life changed in all aspects but my purpose is to make my husband happy even with all the side effects, seizures and.... you know.... Keep strong... and anything you need my e-mail is nubis_6@yahoo.com.mx.

Have a good weekend!

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Stereotactic radiosurgery may or may not be appropriate for a condition. It may be used as the primary treatment or recommended in addition to other treatments that are needed. Only a treating neurosurgeon who operates radiosurgery equipment can make the evaluation as to whether someone can be treated. A neurosurgeon must always be present during treatment and should work with a radiation oncologist when the brain is being targeted.

RADIOSURGERY
Stereotactic radiosurgery uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, highly focused beams of ionizing radiation to destroy brain tumors. The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and all converge at a specific point the tumor. That method necessitates knowledge of the exact location of the tumor and of any critical brain structures between the tumor and the scalp. This treatment is planned so that each part of the brain through which the beams pass receives only a small amount of the total dose. At the same time, it allows for a large dose to be delivered to the tumor itself. Conventional, external radiation to the entire brain often follows the radiosurgery.

There are three methods of delivering stereotactic radiosurgery: Gamma Unit (Gammaknife), adapted linear accelerators (Cyberknife) and cyclotrons.

The size of the tumor is a determining factor in deciding whether stereotactic radiosurgery is appropriate. Is the tumor small having a diameter of about one inch or less (three centimeters)? If so, radiosurgery may be appropriate. Larger tumors require more beams of radiation. That results in a greater effect on normal brain tissue. Other factors need to be considered to determine if this form of treatment is appropriate.
Are there multiple tumors? If so, what is their size and location? It may be possible to treat as many as three or four tumors, depending on their locations. Has the diagnosis of metastatic brain tumor been confirmed by biopsy? If there was prior radiation, is there an increased risk of side-effects with this modality?

Stereotactic radiosurgery requires minimal hospitalization. There is no risk of infection, and it requires only a short period of time for recuperation. However, the results of treatment are not immediate and there is some risk of damage due to the radiation.
Stereotactic radiosurgery does not offer the opportunity for confirmation of the diagnosis.

Stereotactic radiosurgery may be useful as a boost to other forms of radiation therapy for metastatic brain tumors. The characteristics of those tumors appear to be ideal for that type of focused treatment. Investigational studies are still ongoing since radiosurgery has been used for metastatic brain tumors for only a few years.

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

I am so glad you both found each other for support. That is a must to be able to talk to someone going through the exact same thing. I pray you are able to lift one another up and help one another with advice and hope. The one thing we all have to hold on to. I pray for each one on this network daily and pray that we are all healed from this disease. I also pray for the caregivers that God gives you strength to endure the hardships of watching your loved ones go through this pain and having your lives comes to what seems a standstill. We don't understand why God allows these things to happen but we do have to trust Him as we hold onto hope. Talk to Him....He will listen and answer your prayers. Psalms 34:4....I sought the LOrd and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears....this poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.....The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them.
Peace to you both,
Lorrie

Fay115
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2010

My dad just had gamma knife radiation about a month ago. Does anyone know if there are any side effects to this type of treatment? I'm not sure what to expect.

Oly
Posts: 19
Joined: Apr 2003

I completed 5 weeks (25 sessions) whole brain radiation therapy last April, and still had a seizure in my left leg & hand a month ago. I wonder about all the treatments offered for brain cancer. And to think, these are all metastases of 2002 Colon cancer, Stage 1; of all things

marijune
Posts: 45
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi,
I had lung cancer and lobe was removed 2 months ago. I just had a mri that shows i have 5 small c cels in the brain. Doctor recommends whole brain surgery since there are 5 tumors, but i know there are other options but am confused which way to go. the tumors are small.I have heard of gamma knife but dont now if its better than whole brain treatment. any advise. I am very scard.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

i had submitted a post that sits right above yours (june 12) regaridng Brain radiation therapy vs Radiosurgery. Ive reposted here

Profile of Radiosurgery Options & When for Met to Brain
Stereotactic radiosurgery may or may not be appropriate for a condition. It may be used as the primary treatment or recommended in addition to other treatments that are needed. Only a treating neurosurgeon who operates radiosurgery equipment can make the evaluation as to whether someone can be treated. A neurosurgeon must always be present during treatment and should work with a radiation oncologist when the brain is being targeted.

RADIOSURGERY
Stereotactic radiosurgery uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, highly focused beams of ionizing radiation to destroy brain tumors. The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and all converge at a specific point the tumor. That method necessitates knowledge of the exact location of the tumor and of any critical brain structures between the tumor and the scalp. This treatment is planned so that each part of the brain through which the beams pass receives only a small amount of the total dose. At the same time, it allows for a large dose to be delivered to the tumor itself. Conventional, external radiation to the entire brain often follows the radiosurgery.

There are three methods of delivering stereotactic radiosurgery: Gamma Unit (Gammaknife), adapted linear accelerators (Cyberknife) and cyclotrons.

The size of the tumor is a determining factor in deciding whether stereotactic radiosurgery is appropriate. Is the tumor small having a diameter of about one inch or less (three centimeters)? If so, radiosurgery may be appropriate. Larger tumors require more beams of radiation. That results in a greater effect on normal brain tissue. Other factors need to be considered to determine if this form of treatment is appropriate.
Are there multiple tumors? If so, what is their size and location? It may be possible to treat as many as three or four tumors, depending on their locations. Has the diagnosis of metastatic brain tumor been confirmed by biopsy? If there was prior radiation, is there an increased risk of side-effects with this modality?

Stereotactic radiosurgery requires minimal hospitalization. There is no risk of infection, and it requires only a short period of time for recuperation. However, the results of treatment are not immediate and there is some risk of damage due to the radiation.
Stereotactic radiosurgery does not offer the opportunity for confirmation of the diagnosis.

Stereotactic radiosurgery may be useful as a boost to other forms of radiation therapy for metastatic brain tumors. The characteristics of those tumors appear to be ideal for that type of focused treatment. Investigational studies are still ongoing since radiosurgery has been used for metastatic brain tumors for only a few years.

marijune
Posts: 45
Joined: Jan 2010

I appreciate your explanation very much but i am still confused. I have 5 small tumors and whole brain radition was advised. I had lung cancer and it spread to the brain. A biopsy was not recommended. The doctor said this is my best option but I dont remember what type of radiosurgery she recommended. She said I would permanently lose my hair and there could be memory loss but I dont remember what the other disadvantages she said ther could be. I am scheduled for 5 days a week for 3 weeks and the length of radiation would be about 1 minute on each side of my head. I am thankful I have a wonderful husband and family and they are suffering as much as i am. I dont have time to research the options so that scares me even more. I just hade a lower lung removed 2 months ago and havent fully recovered and now this. I pray someone that may have been thru whole head radiation can give me some information on what i will be going thru. Is there a chat site for people that have had this done? Thank you very much and may God Bless You.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

When you mentioned your scheduled for 5 days a week for 3 weeks and the length of radiation would be about 1 minute on each side of my head, your talking about radiation therapy, not radio surgery.

Brain Radiation Therapy (Whole Head) SIDE EFFECTS

There are some side effects that may be seen with radiation therapy for a brain tumor. Specific side effects may also vary with the part of the brain being treated. Radiation therapy for a brain tumor is usually associated with hair loss in the area of the scalp that the X-ray beams are going through; this may be temporary or permanent. It may cause some reddening and scaling of the scalp as well.

Fatigue is commonly seen and there may be loss of appetite or a change in one’s sense of taste. Occasionally, there is nausea and rarely, vomiting; medications usually alleviate these symptoms. If the inner ear is irradiated while the tumor is being treated, there may be fluid build-up behind the eardrum, which is usually treated with decongestants. Following radiation therapy, there may be persistent fatigue that can sometimes last for several months. Steroids (such as dexamethasone) may lessen some of these symptoms, but the minimum effective dose should be used because of possible systemic side effects.

The most noticeable long-term side effect is a gradual decline in some higher brain functions, which will occur over a few years. Many patients notice this as a memory problem. It would seem reasonable that the area of the brain irradiated and the dose of radiation given would be important factors that might influence this side effect, but this has never been conclusively proven. It is not certain whether this gradual decline in higher brain functions stabilizes after several years, but many patients believe it does.

Summary of Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy is usually done on an outpatient basis with treatment occurring each workday for a period of several weeks. If the patient has had surgery for the tumor, radiation therapy typically begins a week or two after surgery.

Radiation therapy is an effective cancer therapy. In surgery, a surgeon may be constrained in resecting the cancer by the presence of critical structures that cannot be removed. The side effects of chemotherapy on normal tissues far away from the brain may limit the ability of a medical oncologist to deliver appropriately intensive treatment to a brain tumor. In radiation therapy, a non-invasive treatment can be given repetitively over several weeks to months and can be aimed specifically at the area where treatment is needed, minimizing side effects for uninvolved normal tissues.

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

HeartofSoul,

Can you show the link you are quoting from? I like to go directly to the source :)

stayingcalm

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

IRSA® -- International RadioSurgery AssociationSince 1995, IRSA® , an independent organization, has dedicated itself to providing educational information and guidelines on stereotactic radiosurgery for BRAIN TUMORS AND BRAIN DISORDERS to governments, regulatory agencies, insurers and referring physicians. [IRSA® is a registered trademark.]

http://irsa.org/radiotherapy.html
RADIOTHERAPY OVERVIEW

http://irsa.org/radiosurgery.html
RADIOSURGEY OVERVIEW

akhennessey
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

My husband was diagnosed Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (adenoma) with mets to the brain in April 2009. He has had three Gamma Knife treatments for a total of 13 tumors. He has one more tumor to be treated, probably by cyberknife because of its position.

After the first treatment--for two tumors, each the size of a walnut--he had short term aphasia and diffiulty reading. He has has some lingering impairment with regard to use of numbers. Otherwise, he has been OK.

After the second treatment, for seven 2mm tumors, in March, he had no side effects.

The third treatment was just a week ago, for four more small tumors; he has experienced a few short-term memroy lapses but otherwise is OK. No headaches, no seizures (so far).
He will probably have to take Dexamethazone again for a while.

The lung tumor itself has not grown since radiation treatment last May. One of his vertebrae, directly behind the lung tumor that was irradiated, collapsed about six months ago. He had a vertebraplasty (injection of bone cement into the vertebra) and at this point has no pain and no restriction of movement.

He is very short of breath with any exertion; this has been a constant since the initial radiation treatment of the lung tumor 16 months ago. We believe the gamma knife treatments have extended his life and improved his quality of life.

Hope this information helps you.

Mama G
Posts: 764
Joined: Nov 2009

I just received word last night that my bc has metastasized to my brain, 2 "lesions" both small, so they are scheduling cyberknife treatment as my first course, followed by entire brain if more lesions are found after this is completed. I'm a little confused by the cyber verses gamma. and of course I'm scared half to death. My sister went through this and only survived one year after detection. I'm not ready yet....

luvmydaughter
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello Nubis. My name is Angie and I am 36 years old. In Dec. 2010 I had gamma knife done on a small brain tumor, following surgery to remove it. I have had mri's done every 3 months since, and this last one I had (last Monday) showed a small spot where the previous tumor was. I go back in 3 weeks for another mri to see if there are any changes. My doc told me I may need to do gamma knife again. I do have some short term memory loss. Another doctor suggested whole brain radiation. I am scared, and not sure how I feel about that. Has your husband had WBR?

KMPonder's picture
KMPonder
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2009

What type tumor did you have luv? I responded to you on the other post.

luvmydaughter
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2011

The tumor I had removed in Dec. 2010 was cancerous, and thats allI know about what kind it was. I had surgery to remove it and about 2 weeks later had Gamma Knife radiosurgery. I am wondering if I should reconsider whole brain radiation. I know that it can only be done once, and gamma knife can be done numerous times. I am afraid that if I have WBR now, and something bad shows up in the future that I will not be able to do anything about it.

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