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Brain radiation - discharge

Radiation - brain - discharge; Cancer - brain radiation; Lymphoma - brain radiation; Leukemia - brain radiation

When you have radiation treatment for cancer, your body goes through changes. Follow your health care provider's instructions on how to care for yourself at home. Use the information below as a reminder.

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What to Expect at Home

Two weeks after radiation treatment starts, you might notice changes in your skin. Most of these symptoms go away after your treatments have stopped.

Your hair will begin to fall out about 2 weeks after radiation treatment starts. It may not grow back.

Hair and Skin Care

When you have radiation treatment, color markings are drawn on your skin. DO NOT remove them. These show where to aim the radiation. If they come off, DO NOT redraw them. Tell your provider instead.

To care for your hair:

If you wear a wig or toupee:

To care for your skin in the treatment area:

Keep the treatment area in the open air as much as possible. But stay away from very hot or cold temperatures.

Don't swim during treatment. Ask your provider when you can start swimming after treatment.

Other Self-care

You need to eat enough protein and calories to keep your weight and strength up. Ask your provider about liquid food supplements that may help you get enough calories.

Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that may cause tooth decay.

You will likely feel tired after a few days. If so:

You may be taking a medicine called dexamethasone (Decadron) while you are getting radiation to the brain.

Follow-up Care

Your provider may check your blood counts regularly.

Related Information

Brain tumor - children
Metastatic brain tumor
Brain tumor - primary - adults
Oral mucositis - self-care
Dry mouth during cancer treatment
Eating extra calories when sick - children
Eating extra calories when sick - adults
Drinking water safely during cancer treatment
Safe eating during cancer treatment
When you have diarrhea
When you have nausea and vomiting
Radiation therapy - questions to ask your doctor

References

Doroshow JH. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 179.

National Cancer Institute website. Radiation therapy and you: support for people with cancer. www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/radiationttherapy.pdf. Updated October 2016. Accessed February 27, 2018.

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Review Date: 1/31/2018  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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