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MySissy
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2013

Hello all.  My Sister starts full brain radiation today.  After many months of chemotherapy for lung cancer (and others), the cancer has spread to her brain.  What side effects should I be most aware of to help with deal with this new treatment?  With Chemo, she has already lost her all her hair and can be forgetful (we call it chemo brain).  A year ago she had throat cancer and was treated with radiation.  I am wondering if the side effects will be the same.

Thanks, Paula

Sten's picture
Sten
Posts: 44
Joined: Apr 2013

I have no direct experience of WBR (whole brain radiation), but it was an option in the treatment of my brain tumour (CNS lymphoma) if the chemo therapy would not be sufficient (which it was). The doctors told me that if I needed WBR, then it could effect my short-term memory (forgetfulness), and there might be some dementia (deterioration of brain function). However, the effect varies for different people. I know persons who have gone through WBR and still work and seem to be just as before.

Sten

Mdw2012
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2013

Paula,

  I think chemo brain sums it up.  Tiredness/fatigue, short term memory.  Check out http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/cancer-questions/chemo-brain.  Best of luck.

mccindy
Posts: 82
Joined: Jun 2013

Unfortunately, WBR can cause delayed cognitive and physical defects quite a while after the treatment has ended.  WBR, while affecting cancer cells throughout the brain, also affects healthy brain cells as well.  Sometimes this damage is repaired, but often it cannot be.  After the treatment has ended, and often years after, there can be mental and physical defects that can be detrimental to the patient's quality of life.  The treatment, although it is known to cause this type of damage, is often used in cases of secondary brain tumor because the spread of the cancer must be stopped.  While it can be scary to think of the possibility of the effects of radiation necrosis, the alternative is to do nothing and let the cancer spread.  NOt everyone has these effects, but there is no way to predict who will suffer from them.  I wish your sister the best and hope she is able to fight through this battle.

rdn2blazer
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 2013

Op, I wish your sister the very best. Prayers are with her. I think it's the radiation thats causing her forgetfulness. Chemo does not get to the brain. Call her "Nucular brain" if she has a good sense of humor lol. I did not have WBR after my brian tumor was removed, just localized treatment. I'm having Radiation Necrosis issues now. First thought was the tumor had reoccured, but after a 2nd MRI 6 weeks from the last one and no growth show, they figure it's necrosis. Still freakes me out but nothing I can do about it. Good luck to your sis, I pray she pulls through.

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