Whole brain radiation was “first used in 1954.” That means that millions of cancer survivors have received whole brain radiation since then. Dr. Paul Brown, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston is quoted as admitting that “The potential benefits of whole brain radiation therapy are far outweighed by the detriments of the therapy itself…”
It has taken conventional oncology over 60 years to determine that the “potential benefits” of whole brain radiation are “far outweighed” by the “detriments” aka collateral damage.
Don’t expect your oncologist to raise the subject of collateral damage aka side effects. Expect your oncologist to offer standard FDA approved cancer therapies. It is up to you to identify and prevent the side effects from these standard FDA approved therapies.
Cancer that spreads to the brain to cause metastases is a common problem in cancer management. The question for your oncologist for this or any aggressive cancer therapy is:
1) will this therapy help me live longer? If so, by how much (on average)
2) how will this therapy affect my quality of life?
Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Are you considering undergoing whole brain radiation?
For more information about your cancer and the pros and cons of therapies you may be considering, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.
“While the more aggressive treatment was better at preventing recurrence of tumors in the brain, it didn’t extend survival.
“The potential benefits of whole brain radiation therapy are far outweighed by the detriments of the therapy itself”…
Brain metastases is a common problem in cancer affecting an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 patients annually in the U.S. alone, some 200,000 of whom get whole brain radiation during the course of their disease. Lung cancer is the most common malignancy to spread to the brain, followed by breast cancer and melanoma…
Whole brain radiation was first used in 1954 and has long been a standard strategy for brain metastases…”
Cognitive abilities in brain tumor patients can be affected by a myriad of factors: the tumor itself, depression and anxiety, fatigue, sleep dysfunction, pre-brain tumor cognitive baseline (premorbid functioning), pain, and brain tumor treatments themselves (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation). Most often, attention, working memory, and information processing speed are affected but patients can present with a wide array of cognitive symptoms .
Radiation-induced cognitive decline (RICD) is considered a late effect of radiation therapy (RT) occurring in 30% or more of patients alive at 4 months after partial or whole brain irradiation.
For those living over 6 months, that number may rise to 50% [2, 3]. Patients with RICD may be unable to continue working and in severe cases may not be able to live independently. Memantine, donepezil, methylphenidate, and Ginkgo biloba have all been utilized as mitigating pharmacologic strategies with modest levels of success [4••, 5••, 6•, 7]. Neurocognitive rehabilitation has been explored as a non-pharmacologic intervention [8•]. Preventative strategies include using radiosurgery (SRS) when appropriate for patients with brain metastases or whole-brain RT with hippocampal avoidance. Cytoprotective agents under investigation include ramipril, fenofibrate, tamoxifen, indomethacin, and pioglitazone [9–14]. Here, we review the pathogenesis, diagnosis/classification, and management of RICD and discuss strategies used to minimize its risk…”