Dad is concerned about brain radiation

Morning all! My dad was recently diagnosed with stage IV small cell lung cancer with metastasis to the brain. They were able to remove most of a very large brain tumor and want to follow up with radiation to his brain before starting chemo for his lungs and lymph nodes. He is on board and willing to fight, but he is struggling with the idea of whole brain radiation. Due to the aggressive nature of small cell, it's imperative that all cells in his brain are targeted. He feels like this method could 'fry' his brain and he won't be able function. My siblings and I have tried to research specific quantitative data surrounding side effects of this treatment, but there are so many variables that it's hard to really get an idea of what he should expect. I thought I would reach out to see if anyone here has experience with whole brain radiation and could speak to personal experiences with the long term effects, like short term memory loss?

3 Replies

  • Bmcarter Thank you for posting and good to hear that your Dad is willing to fight. As you said, small cell lung cancer is aggressive and whole brain radiation for brain metastasis is an important treatment option included in current guidelines. Hopefully, someone who has experienced this treatment first hand will respond. Some people say that the memory loss, fatigue, and other effects after radiation affected them less than the symptoms caused by the brain metastases. But, each person is different so it is very difficult to know what to expect. Have you been able to discuss your Dad's concerns with your doctor?

  • The symptoms that he experienced were mostly eliminated after the tumor was removed surgically. I think you are right in that anything he experiences post-radiation will be less severe than what he experienced before treatment. We have spoken extensively with all his doctors, but the general response is always 'everyone responds differently'. The radiation oncologist was able to give us some specific examples of patients that she has treated, but otherwise it's all very general. We are three days in to WBRT far so good!

  • Wonderful to hear, Bmcarter, please keep us updated!

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