Cancer Home > Brain Cancer Radiation Treatment
Hair and Skin Changes
Radiation treatment commonly causes hair loss. However, hair usually grows back within a few months. Radiation may also affect the skin in the treated area, causing the scalp and the ears to become red, dry, and tender.
In some cases, radiation treatment will cause brain tissue to swell, which may cause a headache or pressure. The healthcare team should watch for signs of this problem and provide medicine to reduce discomfort.
Radiation can kill healthy brain tissue. This side effect is called radiation necrosis. Necrosis can cause headaches, seizures, or even death.
Slowed Growth and Development
In children, radiation may damage the pituitary gland and other areas of the brain. This can cause learning problems or slow down growth and development.
In addition, radiation during childhood increases the risk of secondary tumors later in life. Researchers are studying whether chemotherapy may be used instead of radiation therapy in young children with brain tumors. However, side effects may be worse if chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given at the same time. Patients who experience side effects should talk to their doctor, who can suggest ways to ease these problems.