Brain Radiation as a preventative

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Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Rhonda8743 on Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:00 AM

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Hi,

 My mom, age 57, was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in October of 2006.  She underwent test that showed that the tumor, although it was golf ball sized, hadn't spread to any other parts of her body.

 Her doctor treated her with chemo and radiation treatments to her lung.  Now that the tumor is gone and she is doing well her doctor has decided do put her thru 20 radiation treatments to the brain as a preventative.

 Is this normal treatment for this kind of cancer?????

 

Thank You

Rhonda Twitty

 

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Diane623 on Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:00 AM

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On 3/14/2007 Rhonda8743 wrote:

Hi,

 My mom, age 57, was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in October of 2006.  She underwent test that showed that the tumor, although it was golf ball sized, hadn't spread to any other parts of her body.

 Her doctor treated her with chemo and radiation treatments to her lung.  Now that the tumor is gone and she is doing well her doctor has decided do put her thru 20 radiation treatments to the brain as a preventative.

 Is this normal treatment for this kind of cancer?????

 

Thank You

Rhonda Twitty

 


I don't know for sure but I do know of two women who recently had lung cancer and in both cases it spread to the brain.  Keep searching for advice and get at least one more opinion.  Diane

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Witchdoctor on Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:00 AM

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This is normal and is called "prophylacatic Cranial Irradiation" (PCP for short)  Small Cell Cancer can hide in the brain and with no treatment can have a 50 percent or more chance of recurring there.  It is actually good they are recommending it as;

1.  They only do it in complete responders

2.  It prevents recurrence

3.  Increases survival by an absolute 5 precent or improves survival by 20 percent.

4.  If given slowly, over 20 fractions , does not damage the brain.

5.  Reduces brain recurrence to 5-10 percent.

So look at it as a good thing.  Also it will not have much in the way of side effects.  (if they put her on low dose decadron)

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Mr_Steve on Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:00 AM

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Hi Rhonda

Simple answer is YES.

In 2002 at age 57, I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I had 2 tumors in my left lung.  One tennis ball and one golf ball.

Chemo and radiation at the same time. Some months late came the news, it was time for PCI.  I was not prepared for that.  I want on the internet and researched everything I could.  Spoke with different doctors.  It all came down to WE think it is the right thing to do, but it was up to me.  I decided to have it done.  After fighting cancer for almost a year it was not time yet to give up.  If (and SSLC likes to hide in the brain) I got SSCL of the brain I would have died.  So I let them kill some brain cells.  I lost my hair for a second time.  After PCI, six months of double vision, could not drive at night,  became a bit dyslexic, lost some short and midrange memory, plus more.  This was over 5 years ago.  Thing in life have returned to almost normal.  My legs still done work 100%, but I exercise everyday and they are getting better.

Was it worth it?  How can we know.  If I did not do it would I still be alive or not?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I AM ALIVE.

If you have any other question, email me and I will get back to you.

Steve Israeloff (cancer survivor)

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Kbcns7 on Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:00 AM

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On 3/14/2007 Diane623 wrote:

 

On 3/14/2007 Rhonda8743 wrote:

Hi,

 My mom, age 57, was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in October of 2006.  She underwent test that showed that the tumor, although it was golf ball sized, hadn't spread to any other parts of her body.

 Her doctor treated her with chemo and radiation treatments to her lung.  Now that the tumor is gone and she is doing well her doctor has decided do put her thru 20 radiation treatments to the brain as a preventative.

 Is this normal treatment for this kind of cancer?????

 

Thank You

Rhonda Twitty

 


I don't know for sure but I do know of two women who recently had lung cancer and in both cases it spread to the brain.  Keep searching for advice and get at least one more opinion.  Diane

I had metastatic breast disease for about 7 years. My original cancer was breast that spread to the brain (5 metas), ovary, liver. My oncologist, which was the only one I consulted with, recommended whole brain radiation to treat the tumors. I MUST WARN YOU THAT WHOLE BRAIN RADIATION WILL DESTROY A SIGNIFICANT PART OF YOUR BRAIN. It will affect how you think, it will affect how you sleep, it will affect your important glands such as the pituitary, hypothalamus, etc. Brain tissue does not grow back; it stays damaged for life. Your mother is too young to be in that position. She WILL have memory loss; difficulty reading and retaining information; may not be able to concentrate on reading a book; may lose some of her motor skills; will have balance and coordination problems.  I had brain radiation in 1997 and I still bump into my own furniture. I also developed vertigo, which I never had before. My hearing and vision were permanently damaged from whole brain radiation. As well, my salivary glands, sense of taste, sense of smell were damaged.  It took years for the taste and smell to come back, but I have cataracts due to the radiation. Because I was a first-time cancer patient, it didn't even occur to me to get a second or third opinion.
Brain radiation as a preventive is not common or widespread, and it sounds to me BARBARIC that your mother's doctor is willing to put anyone into the position of permanent and total disability due to brain damage. If you call any major university medical center (tell them that you have limited funds and just want a consultation), and not rely on a local doctor, you will not find anyone doing brain radiation without the presence of tumors. Radiation is not used as a "just in case". That's total crap! MORE IMPORTANT, if and when she does develop tumors, she WONT BE ABLE TO HAVE ANY MORE RADIATION TO THE BRAIN. Yes. They do not re-radiate the brain. Why destroy your brain?  Whole brain radiation is devastating. Nuts! There are quite a few preventive and long-term treatments (chemo) that help prevent cancer recurrences; if your mother's doctor doesn't know about them, QUICKLY----FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. Do your research; go on the Internet. There are so many cancer websites out there, for every type of cancer.  And you know, there really are incompetent doctors out there who make bad or wrong judgements. Trust me. My whole brain radiation was not necessary, as it turns out. I could have had what we know now as steriotactic radiation, which is not whole brain but tumor-aimed, plus surgery.

Good luck.

 

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Witchdoctor on Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:00 AM

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Please disregard the above post.  Hers is a completely different situation.

Small cell carcinoma by itself, and chemo, without radiation can cause neurocognitive disfunction.  Radiation can as well , but as above if it is given slowly then the chances are no higher than those who don't get it.

The above poster meant well but this is not an "apples to apples" comparison.  If she had stereotactic only in her case there was a very high likelihood the cancer would have recurred in another part of the brain an a good chance she should not have survived period.

This is something all must realize, aggressive therapy can give long term effects.  People demand the optimal chance at cure, but when cured and they have some sort of treatment related problem they immediately forget they are cured and blame the doctors for the side effect.  It is a sad fact that oncologists only get sued by people they CURE.  There are many people who are undertreated and DIE, which is the worst side effect, and the doctor doesn't  get sued because, hey, its cancer , you're expected to die, if your alive you are lucky.  Talk about MIXED signals to the doctors.

I had an instructor, who unabashedly said, better they die of cancer ratheer than live with a treatment related side effect.  I disagreed, but now after what I have been thru, I still disagree, but understand the sentiment.

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Rhonda8743 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:00 AM

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Thanks Everyone!

 Mom has decided to do the treatments.. As a matter of fact, she has had two treaments this past week.  The doctor has decided to do a lower dose over 20 treatments....  I will keep you all posted... Thanks!

 Rhonda

 

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Laurieb on Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:00 AM

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Rhonda,

My husband, 59, diagnosed April 2006 with small cell lung cancer had chemo and radiation and was finished with that in September 2006 with complete response.  He had 17 treatments of PCI in November and his brain MRI is clear.  He has never regretted the PCI.  He is a little forgetful but has not lost any of his cognitive skills.  He is on the computer, doing computer work daily and has no trouble with that.  Those little small cells can get into the tightest crevices and the brain radiation is GOOD.  

 Unfortunately in December, his PET revealed metastisis to his bones.  He's back doing chemo again, Topotecan, but it's not nearly as wicked as the first time.  He's doing well, although a little fatigued.

 I think it's great your Mom has started PCI.  If hair loss and a little forgetfulness is all she has to endure, it's nothing compared to what she has been through to date.

 God Bless you Mom and you through this ordeal.

 Laurie

 

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by Seattlesister on Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:00 AM

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I have a question. My sister has Stage IIIb cervical small cell. She is on her third round of chemo. Do you know of any new treatment?

Kerri

RE: Brain Radiation as a preventative

by sherzim on Fri Dec 12, 2014 08:44 PM

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My husband has small cell lung cancer he had brain radiation as well, 2 1/2 years ago, and yes he has a bit of short term memory loss, but, he is working full time and doing very well, he did not have all of those other problems that the last post had. 

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