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Whole Brain Radiation


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I haven't posted here in quite a while. Things seemed to be going as good as possible but have taken a turn for the worse.

My mother in law was diagnosed with Stage V NSCLC about 18 months ago. She had two mets in her hip at the time as well as in the lymph nodes. Recently, she's had some problems with memory, using the wrong word and dizzy spells. She had a MRI of the brain last week that confirmed that she has a lot of very small lesion through out the brain. She is will have 15 daily treatments of whole brain radiation.

Prior to this, she has been on two different groups of chemo meds (Carbo/Taxol was the first but I can't remember the others). She is getting some type of med in her hep-line for bone strength every few weeks as well. She had to start steroids this weekend to prevent swelling.

Now, the questions. What are the side effects of whole brain radiation? Are they long lasting? How soon will they start? What's the prognosis? She's still in denial thinking that she will be cured. She expects to hear that the cancer is all gone. We know that's not possible but don't want to burst her bubble. Her attitude for the most part is pretty up beat. I think that they (mother and father in law) are hearing what they want to when she goes to the doctor.

She's done very well with the chemo. No side effects besides being a little tired a day or two (she looses her hair as well but it grew in pretty thick when she had the break between the two rounds)

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Hi Poggie

Sorry to hear about the development of brain mets. Your MIL's situation sounds similar to my Mum's. She was diagnosed in July 2003 with stage IV NSCLC, and brain mets were discovered in January this year. She had 10 sessions of WBR, and apart from a little fatigue, she didn't experience much in the way of side-effects - even kept most of her hair!! Now, about 6 weeks post treatment, her level of fatigue has increased, which I have been advised by a radiation oncologist is not uncommon, and will pass. If your MIL is on steroids, they will probably have her bouncing off the walls for a time!!

I think that the discovery of brain mets is pretty devastating, so I would be inclined to let your parents-in-law coast along in their state of denial if it is helping them to cope. As far as your question about prognosis, obviously everyone responds differently, but like your MIL and FIL, we too are holding out for a cure!!!

Take care


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Hi Poggie,

Please don't take this wrong. There are so many IV's here and surviving. You are a caring DIL. I think it's great your MIL and FIL are in denial. She is alive, free and coping. She feels good and is upbeat and positive thinking. This is what has kept her so healthy so far and able to tolerate the chemo tx. Who says she can't be cured. The doctors, what do they know. They are not God, He decides if I can be cured and healed and only Him.

God Bless,prayers and gentle hugs,


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It sounds like your mother in law has the right attitude. Brain mets are a serious complication, but many of us here have had success with the wbr and still going strong! Fatigue was my main complaint, hair loss and loss of appetite after I was off the steroids. All have gotten better, but it takes a few months.


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