52383 RadiationBrain:brochure 5/4/2010 8:51 AM Page 1 ST. PETER’S CANCER CARE CENTER
317 South Manning Boulevard • Suite 100
Albany, NY 12208
Side effects of the radiation may continue for 518-525-1547
several weeks after the treatments are com- RADIATION TO THE BRAIN
pleted. Continue to clean the treatment area
gently. Notify your physician or nurse of any During your treatment, you may be taking a breaks in the skin or discharge from the skin.
medicine called Decadron® (dexamethasone).
This medicine decreases the swelling in the head Be sure to maintain your follow-up schedule caused by the tumor and the radiation. Use of with your radiation oncologist. Always call with this medication requires a special set of self-care • Decadron may cause an increase in appetite, increased urination, fluid retention (swelling), In addition to the radiation oncology staff, other health care professionals are available to assist sleeping. These are expected side effects of • Our spiritual care team can provide individual and family support in meeting your religious Advanced treatment options, dedicated professionals • Notify your physician, nurse or therapist if and a unique caring environment make St. Peter’s one of the most well-regarded health systems.
• Our behavioral health team is experienced in nausea, vomiting, visual problems, trouble In recent years, St. Peter’s Hospital has been recognized helping you and your family cope with your speaking, seizures, or weakness in your arms by national and state health care quality organizations for excellence in care. We offer a comprehensive, integrated continuum of services – ranging from acute care • Our nutritional support team is available to • DO NOT take this medication on an empty in the hospital to outpatient services, home care, nursing homes, assist with your nutritional needs related to hospice care, addictions treatment and much more.
stomach. DO take it with food or milk. Your physician may want you to take a prescrip- St. Peter’s continues to set the pace for health care innovations.
• Our complementary therapy program offers tion medication to prevent irritation of your that technology is critical to treatment, patients individual consultations on develop- but compassion is the key to healing.
ing coping and wellness support strategies for • Your physician will gradually decrease the use before, during and after treatments.
amount of Decadron you are taking. DONOT decrease or stop taking this medicinewithout being told to do so by your physicianor nurse.
• You may also be taking an anticonvulsant medication to prevent seizures. It is impor-tant that you continue taking this medicationuntil you are instructed otherwise by yourphysician.
52383 RadiationBrain:brochure 5/4/2010 8:51 AM Page 2 • Your skin will be checked frequently for changes. If you have itching or discomfort,notify your physician, nurse, or therapist. They may suggest or prescribe medications to help During radiation therapy, the radiation must pass directly through your skin in order to reach thetumor. To make this possible, you will be asked to remove any clothing or accessory from the Radiation to the scalp will cause hair loss in the treatment area. Your privacy will be maintained to area being treated. Hair loss will start about two weeks after the treatments have started. The amount of hair loss, and whether or not it will grow back, will depend on the amount of radiation Fatigue is common during radiation therapy.
Effects in Patients Receiving Radiation to you receive. The new hair growth may be thinner, Stress related to your illness, daily trips for treat- and the texture or color may be different than ment, and the effects of radiation on your body’s normal cells all contribute to fatigue. Theamount of fatigue you experience will go away slowly after your treatment is completed. Avoid will discuss any changes to the plan with • Avoid using curling irons, electric hair dryers, becoming overly tired. Pace your activities and curlers, clips and hair spray on your hair.
• DO NOT color your hair or get a permanent carefully planned to direct the radiation • If you plan to wear a wig or other hair piece, it If your ears are part of the treatment area, you Ask your physician or nurse about things you can do may be helpful to purchase it before hair loss may experience some ear irritation or hearing to protect your skin before your radiation treatments occurs. This will make it easier for you to match become dry, itchy and irritated during treat- The radiation treatments may cause you to develop • You should ask your physician or nurse where area will also be affected. This may result foreign matter into the ear canal. Notify your skin reactions such as redness, dryness, itching, to get a wig. Your insurance may pay for a wig if physician, nurse or therapist of any ear prob- peeling or tanning. It is important that you DO NOT you get a prescription from your physician. You scratch these areas. You should follow these instruc- may also want to consider wearing a hat or • You may wash your hair gently using a mild It is possible that the radiation could affect your shampoo (such as baby shampoo). Avoid scrub- • Expose the treatment area to the air as much bing. Gently pat the area dry with a soft towel.
bone marrow, where blood cells are made.
as possible. However, when outside, wear a • DO NOT use any lotions or creams on the scarf, hat or wig to protect your scalp from the blood count) during your treatment to check for • Avoid exposing your scalp to direct sun, heat or • DO NOT use any tape, dressings or bandages Other less common side effects may occur.
cold (including hot water bottles, heating pads Notify your physician if you have any other and ice packs). Avoid exposing your scalp to problems not mentioned in this brochure.



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