Side Effects Of Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy to the brain can cause short term side effects such as tiredness and sickness. These side effects usually improve a few weeks after treatment. You may also have long term side effects which can continue for a lot longer and sometimes might be permanent.
These side effects vary from person to person. They also depend on what other treatment you are having. For example, your side effects could be worse if you are also having chemotherapy.
You may not have all of the effects mentioned. Side effects can include:
You might feel tired during your treatment. It tends to get worse as the treatment goes on. You might also feel weak and lack energy. Rest when you need to.
Tiredness can carry on for some weeks after the treatment has ended but it usually improves gradually.
Various things can help you to reduce tiredness and cope with it, such as exercise. Some research has shown that taking gentle exercise can give you more energy. It’s important to balance exercise with resting.
In a few people, tiredness can become very severe within 5 to 6 weeks after the treatment finishes. This is called somnolence syndrome. You might also have other symptoms such as loss of appetite.
Somnolence syndrome is more common in children, but can also happen in adults. It doesn’t need treatment and gets better on its own over a few weeks.
Caring For Your Child
Parents often struggle with how much to tell a child who is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this, experts do agree that it’s best to be honest but to fit the details to your child’s degree of understanding and emotional maturity.
Give as much information as your child needs, but not more. And when explaining treatment, try to break it down into steps. Addressing each part as it comes visiting various doctors, having a special machine take pictures of the brain, needing an operation can make the big picture less overwhelming. The members of the brain tumor care team are experts at helping families talk with the child and siblings if a family needs help with this.
Kids should be reassured that the brain tumor is not the result of anything they did, and that it’s OK to be angry or sad. Really listen to your child’s fears, and when you feel alone, seek support. Your hospital’s social workers can put you in touch with other families who’ve been there and may have insights to share. You can also connect with other caregivers or cancer survivors online.
Also be aware that it’s common for siblings to feel neglected, jealous, and angry when a child is seriously ill. Explain as much as they can understand, and enlist family members, teachers, and friends to help keep some sense of normalcy for them.
Who Gets Brain Tumors
Most brain tumors develop in people over the age of 50. If you have a family history of brain tumors or your brain has been exposed to radiation, say, during radiotherapy, you might be at higher risk.
Genetic conditions like neurofibromatosis, Turcot syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Li-Fraumeni cancer syndrome, and Gorlin syndrome are associated with brain tumors that tend to develop in early adulthood or childhood.
Malignant brain tumors usually seem to develop when cancer from some other part of the body spreads to the brain. And, sometimes, benign brain tumors can also turn malignant.13
Common Questions About Hair Loss And Cancer
Will chemo make me lose my hair? It depends. Hair loss is very common with certain chemo medicines. However, chemo does not always cause hair loss. Some patients may not lose their hair. Others may have thinning hair. With some chemotherapy, hair loss is complete and includes eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair. The specific type of chemo and the dose you receive will determine the risk of hair loss and how it occurs.
When will my hair fall out after chemo? Usually, hair begins to fall out 2-3 weeks after starting chemo. Hair loss may be seen sooner or later, depending on the chemo schedule.
Will my hair grow back after chemo? Hair loss after chemo is usually temporary. But it might take a while to regrow hair after treatment ends. Most patients see hair growth 2-3 months after chemo is complete. New hair may appear more like peach fuzz and then will fill in as the hair growth cycle returns to normal. It can take 6-12 months before hair reaches full thickness. Parents may need to explain to children who had long hair that growing out the length can take a very long time. On average, hair grows about 6 inches per year.
Will I lose my hair after radiation? Hair loss after radiation therapy is generally limited to the parts of the body that receive treatment. Patients who have radiation to parts of the body other than the head will not lose the hair on their head unless they also receive chemo or other medicines that cause hair loss.
How Does Radiation Therapy Affect The Hair
Radiation therapy may disturb the growth of the hair follicles, causing hair thinning and hair loss. You may notice hair loss after three weeks of starting radiation therapy. However, the hair loss may be temporary or permanent depending on the dosage. If the dosage is low, hair loss is temporary and it may regrow within 3-6 months after the treatment ends .
The texture and volume of the new hair may be different than the pre-treatment hair. Often, the hair grows back thinner and curlier.
If the dose of radiation is high or combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, it may severely affect the scalp and hair follicles, minimizing hair regrowth chances. In some cases, hair loss may become permanent. Keep reading to find out what happens to your scalp during radiation.
Recommended Reading: Early Signs Of Brain Hemorrhage
What Research Is Being Done
Scientists continue to investigate ways to better understand, diagnose, and treat CNS tumors. Several of todays treatments were experimental therapies only a decade ago. Clinical studies are research studies that test or observe how well medical approaches work in people. Some clinical studies test new treatments such as a new drug or medical therapy. Treatment studies help researchers learn if a new treatment is effective or less harmful than standard treatments. Studies can be considered at any point, from the time of diagnosis through recurrence. For more information about clinical studies, see: National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials.
Current clinical studies of genetic risk factors, environmental causes, and molecular mechanisms of cancers may translate into tomorrows treatment of, or perhaps cure for, these tumors.Much of this work is supported by the National Institutes of Health , through the collaborative efforts of its National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Cancer Institute , as well as other federal agencies, nonprofit groups, pharmaceutical companies, and private institutions. Some of this research is conducted through the collaborative neuroscience and cancer research community at the NIH or through research grants to academic centers throughout the United States.
Targeted therapy uses molecularly targeted drugs that seek out the cellular changes that convert normal cells into cancer. Targeted therapies include:
Are There Any Negative Effects Of Masturbation On The Brain
Masturbating as often as you want is not a problem unless it ends up being an obsession. If the need to masturbate is constant and you stop doing your usual daily activities to masturbate, or if you cant control it and end up masturbating in inappropriate places, then there is a problem. Whilst not an effect on the brain, if you continue to masturbate despite having irritated or broken skin in the genital region, you should consider seeking support. If you fear that you are in this situation, you should visit a sex therapist.
Last medically reviewed: 16-06-2020
You May Like: Does A Brain Hemorrhage Hurt
What Happens During Radiation Therapy
For conventional radiation therapy, you will consult with a radiation oncologist a doctor who specializes in radiation therapy. During the first visit, the oncologist will review the history of your illness and perform a physical exam. You may consult with other members of your treatment team at this time, too.
After you and your doctor decide on a course of treatment, you will begin treatment planning. During this first treatment planning phase, a radiation oncologist will simulate your radiation therapy treatment using either conventional x-rays or a CT scan. Most cases will require an MRI scan. Doctors use these exams to plan the type and direction of radiation beams they will use to treat the cancer.
You will need to lie still on the treatment table during simulation, although no radiation therapy will be given at that point. The treatment team will usually create an immobilization mask at this time to prevent head movement. Typically, treatment begins one to two weeks after your treatment planning session. Planning and verifying your treatment plan will require significant medical physics before you begin treatment.
For more information about specific radiation therapy procedures and equipment, visit the following pages:
About The Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Symptoms depend on where the tumour is in the brain and how slowly or quickly it grows. They may develop suddenly, or slowly over months or even years.
As a tumour grows, it can press on or grow into nearby areas of the brain. This can cause symptoms because it stops that part of the brain from working normally. Symptoms can also happen because the tumour is increasing the pressure inside the skull.
These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than a brain tumour. But it is important to get them checked by your GP straight away.
Preparing For An Appointment
See your child’s doctor if your child has any signs or symptoms that worry you. If a brain tumor is suspected, a referral to an experienced specialist in pediatric brain tumors can provide the best outcome.
Consider taking a relative or friend along to the appointment to help remember all the information provided.
Here’s some information to help you and your child get ready for the appointment, and what to expect from the doctor.
How Brain Metastases Are Treated
If diagnosed and treated early, brain metastases usually respond to therapy. Your treatment plan will depend on the size and number of tumors, where theyre located in the brain, the genetic characteristics of the cancer cells, and the extent of disease outside the brain as well as your overall health. Treatment may include:
Surgery. For patients with only one or two brain metastases that are easy to access, or a larger tumor thats causing compressive symptoms, surgery can be very effective, says Dr. Berman. Surgery, which may involve the complete or partial removal of a tumor to help alleviate symptoms, is typically followed by whole-brain radiation.
If your lung cancer doesnt carry these specific mutations or has metastasized elsewhere in the body, other systemic therapies, such as immunotherapy and chemotherapy, may be considered.
Palliative care. This type of specialized medical care, which can include physical therapy, relaxation techniques, exercise, speech therapy, and pain management, is also a key component of treatment for patients with metastatic NSCLC. These complementary approaches can help mitigate the side effects of both the cancer and its treatment and significantly improve quality of life. Information and support for people with lung cancer and their families is available at the Lung Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education .
Recommended Reading: How Big Is A Yorkies Brain
Complications Associated With Pituitary Tumors Include:
Acromegaly: heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids , diabetes, sleep apnea, joint disease , colon polyps and possibly color cancer, loss of sexual function and infertility. Other problems may include abnormal dental bite , oily skin, excessive sweating and cystic acne.
Cushings disease: weight gain , heart disease, abnormal lipids , diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and bone fractures, depression, memory loss, muscle weakness, occasionally kidney stones, loss of sexual function, infertility, loss of menstrual periods, thin skin, easy bruising, red stretch marks, usually on the abdomen.
Prolactinoma: high prolactin is not known to shorten life however loss of normal testosterone production in men causes a risk of osteoporosis, increases the risk for bone fractures, loss of muscle mass, anemia and fatigue. In women, high prolactin results in loss of regular menstrual cycles, infertility, low estrogen with risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Non-functioning adenoma, Craniopharyngioma, Rathkes Cleft cyst, Pituitary cyst: There is no known risk of premature death as long as appropriate hormone replacement are taken. Complications are related to the adequacy of hormone replacement.
How Are Cns Tumors Diagnosed
If you are suspected of having a brain or spinal cord tumor, your doctor will perform a neurologic exam and may order a variety of tests based on your symptoms, personal and family medical history, and results of the physical exam. Once a tumor is found on diagnostic imaging studies, surgery to obtain tissue for a biopsy or removal is often recommended. Diagnosing the type of brain or spinal cord tumor is often difficult. Some tumor types are rare and the molecular and genetic alterations of some tumors are not well understood. You may want to ask your primary care doctor or oncologist for a second opinion from a comprehensive cancer center or neuro-oncologist with experience treating your diagnosis or tumor type. Even a second opinion that confirms the original diagnosis can be reassuring and help you better prepare for your care and treatment.
A neurological exam
A neurological exam can be done in your doctors office. It assesses your movement and sensory skills, hearing and speech, reflexes, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior.
Some advanced tests are performed and analyzed by a specialist.
Diagnostic imaging produces extremely detailed views of structures inside the body, including tissues, organs, bones, and nerves. Such imaging can confirm the diagnosis and help doctors determine the tumor’s type, treatment options, and later, whether the treatment is working.
Laboratory and other tests
Also Check: What Causes Bleeding On The Brain In The Elderly
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of a pituitary tumor vary depending on its size and hormone secretion many are asymptomatic. About 25% of pituitary tumors are nonfunctional 75% are functional. Of hormonally active adenomas, about 50% secrete prolactin, 20% secrete growth hormone, 20% secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone, and 10% secrete multiple hormones.
Does A Pituitary Tumor Shorten Life Expectancy
Having a pituitary tumor should not shorten life expectancy if it is treated properly and if the patient receives appropriate hormone replacement. In large population studies, it appears that patients who had conventional, fractionated, radiation for pituitary disease had an increased mortality risk because of cerebrovascular disease .
Pituitary hormone deficiency requires hormone replacement. All medications must be taken as directed. Additionally, there is a need for regular medical care and monitoring of hormone treatments. Most patients who have had a pituitary tumor engage in normal work and social activities. If a patient requires steroid replacement, a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace should be worn at all times. Another illness such as the flu, pneumonia or an accident requires an increase in the steroid dose. If the patient is brought to the hospital and unable to give the medical history, the physicians will have no way of knowing that additional steroid is necessary. The Medic Alert bracelet or necklace notifies physicians of the need for additional steroid administration. With attention to these important details, a patient with a pituitary tumor should have a full and productive life.
Patients with uncontrolled Acromegaly or Cushings disease do have an increased risk of dying earlier than expected and for having complications of the high hormone level. Lowering of the hormone level to normal reduces this risk.
Don’t Miss: Is Doing Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Your Brain
What Are The Side Effects Of Ketoconazole
Ketoconazole: the most common side effect is nausea and abnormalities in liver function. Before this medication is taken, a blood test should be measured to make sure there are no liver abnormalities. It is a good idea to have regular liver tests when taking ketoconazole. If fatigue or jaundice occurs, liver tests must be measured and if the liver tests are abnormal, the medication stopped immediately. If liver tests become abnormal, they usually return to normal after the ketoconazole is stopped. Other side effects include vomiting, abdominal pain and itching.
Can Medical Treatment Be Used Instead Of Surgery For Acromegaly
Occasionally. Most patients have a macroadenoma at the time of diagnosis. In this situation, surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible is usually the first treatment. This is particularly important if the tumor is close to the eye nerves or if the tumor is pressing on the optic chiasm causing loss of vision. If the patient cannot undergo surgery, medical treatment, preferably with a somatostatin drug is used because these medications act directly on the tumor and may prevent tumor growth. Again, this is not a cure medical treatment with a somatostatin drug controls the problem, with optimal control in approximately 40 to 60% of patients.
Also Check: Limbic Lobe Location
What If I Wish To Become Pregnant
The only FDA approved medication for pregnancy, bromocriptine, has been given to several thousand women who wished to become pregnant. A worldwide surveillance has shown there that there is no increased risk of birth defects . Cabergoline is not FDA approved for pregnancy information on several hundred women who became pregnant while taking cabergoline showed no increase in risk of birth defects for the baby, Until there is more experience with cabergoline in women who become pregnant, it is prudent for women try to become pregnant to take bromocriptine.