• 4mymom's Avatar

    4mymom asked a questionLung Cancer

    My mom is going to have radiation to her brain.Worried about her getting dementia.

    5 answers
    • sandikf's Avatar

      I had radiation to my brain- only thing I noticed is lost my hair again ( was just growing back from chemo) She should be fine

      almost 8 years ago
    • ladyhawk's Avatar

      your really sweet to be here for your mom,, praying for you both 4mymom!

      almost 8 years ago
    • CraiginPA's Avatar

      As I recall from other caregivers' experiences, sometimes that happens with WBR (whole brain radiation) but it isn't as typical as you fear. You can ask the radiation oncologist for the % odds of that side effect.

      When WBR is necessary (as I assume is often the case with SCLC), there's a variation that also seems to avoid the worst risk called WBR with hippocampus sparing which doesn't irradiate the hippocampus which is very important to storing memories and mets don't occur there as often as elsewhere if there's no mets nearby already. As your doctors if that is an option. Citations:
      Speaking for myself, if I required WBR, I would do my best to seek the hippocampal sparing variation of it *if* I didn't have any mets near there.

      For the benefit of people with low risk of brain mets that are present but haven't yet grown large enough to be visible on scans, there's also targeted radiation:

      The risk of distressing side effects usually isn't as much of a risk if targeted radiation of some kind can be used instead. Research has shown can even be used successfully for multiple mets (citation: http://www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(11)03388-8/ ) although with a higher risk of more mets appearing elsewhere a couple of months later that might require re-treatment or resorting to WBR. The highest # of mets treated with targeted radiation I've heard of (2nd hand claim so maybe not correct) was 32 by Dr. Christopher Duma, in Newport Beach, CA. I think most doctors would require WBR for anything more than half a dozen because of the risk of rapid recurrence, but I thought I'd just mention it is possible for some patients.

      FWIW, one other consideration is that there is a limit to how much radiation any one place can tolerate, so you can also ask your doctors about whether full-dose WBR can be repeated if mets reappear, but often they feel that sometimes there is no choice but to use WBR to try to clear the field including any mets that are too small to know are there. (For many patients, that might last them for the rest of their lives by eliminating microscopic mets too small to see or target which without WBR would soon grow large enough to require treatment.) I often hear of fellow patients say they can't be given the same maximum-dose WBR a 2nd time, but there apparently are exceptions, e.g.,:

      Best hopes,

      Craig in PA

      almost 8 years ago
  • 4mymom's Avatar

    4mymom shared an experience

    Radiation (External radiation )

    • fstaffy's Avatar

      what kind of radiation are they going to do? Good luck and cherish the little things. My husband 54 was dx sept 25 2012 and has finished his first 6 rounds of chemo. Small cell lung cancer usually responds well to aggressive chemo. They also did PCI radiation to the brain to prevent mets there. Keep her weight up by starting now to boost her diet.

      over 8 years ago
    • 4mymom's Avatar

      Thank's we don't know what kind yet but its for the cancer that has spread to two places in her spine which is causing severe pain in both legs.Hope it will take the pain away.

      over 8 years ago
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    Procedure or Surgery (Biopsy)

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    4mymom shared an experience

    Oh No

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    Hey emmet their are many programs that help cancer patients.When my brother was diagnosed he had no insurance and they still treated him.