Brain Cancer Radiation Treatment
For many people with brain cancer, radiation treatment usually follows surgery. Types of radiation treatment for this type of cancer include fractionation, stereotactic radiation treatment, and proton beam radiation treatment. Side effects will depend on the dose of radiation and the part of your body that is treated. Common side effects of radiation include nausea, tiredness, hair loss, and skin changes.
An Overview of Radiation Treatment for Brain Cancer
Brain cancer radiation treatment (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill tumor cells. A large machine is used to aim radiation (in the form of x-rays, gamma rays, or protons) at the tumor and the tissue close to it. In some cases, the radiation may be directed to the entire brain or the spinal cord.
Radiation treatment usually follows brain cancer surgery, because the radiation will kill tumor cells that may remain in the area. Radiation is also used on patients who cannot have surgery to treat their brain cancer.
Patients will need to go into the hospital or clinic for radiation treatment, and the treatment schedule will depend on the type of the tumor, the size of the tumor, and the age of the patient. Each treatment will only last a few minutes.
In order to protect the healthy tissue around the brain tumor, doctors will use:
- Stereotactic radiation treatment
- Three-dimensional conformal radiation treatment
- Proton beam radiation treatment.
In fractionation, radiation treatment is usually given five days a week for several weeks. Giving the total dose of radiation over an extended period of time helps to protect the healthy tissue in the area of the tumor.