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23

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016

2

Test and treatment overview

Radiation therapy

You will be alone while the technician operates the

machine from a nearby room. He or she will be able

to see, hear, and speak with you through an intercom

and video system. As treatment is given, you may

hear noises and see lights. One session can take

about 15 to 20 minutes.

The total dose of radiation is split into a number

of treatments called fractions. The number of

treatments varies among people with gliomas as

noted below. Your doctor will see you every week to

review how you are doing.

Radiotherapy

†

†

Fractionated EBRT consists of one session 5

days a week for about 5 to 6 weeks.

†

†

You may have more or fewer treatments.

Hyperfractionated EBRT consists of fewer

sessions. Your doctor will discuss how many

treatments you will receive.

Radiosurgery

†

†

Stereotactic radiosurgery is typically given in

one treatment session.

†

†

Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy is

radiosurgery given in up to 5 sessions.

Side effects of radiation

Side effects from radiation therapy differ among

people. Factors like tumor type, tumor site, radiation

dose, and length of treatment play a role. Side

effects are cumulative meaning they are the worse at

the end of treatment.

The most common side effect of radiation is extreme

tiredness despite sleep (fatigue). You may also

have hair loss where treatment was received. Other

side effects of radiation include swelling and loss of

appetite. In rare cases, your skin may become pink,

like a sunburn.

A rare side effect of radiation is death of tissue

(necrosis). This is like scarring but in the brain. This

tissue can cause swelling in the brain and may cause

symptoms. In some cases, necrosis can only be

seen on brain images.

Not all side effects of radiation are listed here.

Please ask your treatment team for a complete list

of common and rare side effects. They can give you

a full list and let you know which ones you are more

likely to get. If a side effect bothers you, tell your

treatment team. There may be ways to help you feel

better. There are also ways to prevent some side

effects.

Helpful Tips

ü

Use a satin pillowcase. Satin is

smooth whereas cotton is rough,

causing your sensitive hair follicles to

be painful and pulled out.

ü

Your scalp may get irritated. Take

a washcloth, soaking it in saline, and

place on tender spots. It will help

cool the irritated sections.