Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumours

Southern Tasmania Area Health ServicesTasmanian Health Service - Southern Region

Patient Information Brochure

Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumours


Treating brain tumours

A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain. The following information is provided to help you make an informed decision about your treatment.

Treatment options are based on the following factors:

  • Tumour type
  • Location and size of the tumour
  • Tumour grade (how abnormal the cells are) and
  • Your age, medical history and general health

Treatment options include radiation therapy, surgery or chemotherapy or a combination of these.

Understanding radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy, is the use of high-energy x-rays to safely and effectively kill cancer cells.

Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to try to cure cancer, to control tumour growth or to relieve symptoms, such as pain.

Radiation therapy works within cancer cells by damaging their ability to multiply. When these cells die, the body naturally eliminates them.

A radiation-delivery machine (called a linear accelerator) focuses the radiation beam to a precise location for an exact period of time.

Radiation is given in daily treatments, Monday through Friday, for several weeks.

Possible side effects

The following side effects may occur during or within a few weeks of finishing treatment:

  • Fatigue or 'feeling tired' is common
  • The skin in the area being treated could become red and sore (like sunburn)
  • Hair loss in the treated area. Your hair will grow back after completion of treatment but may be thinner
  • Blocked ears
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting

Your doctor or nurse will provide treatment or advice to deal on how to deal with these side effects.

Long term side effects that may be permanent

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Injury to brain, spinal cord and eye

Helpful websites

Health insite
www.healthinsite.gov.au

Cancer institute of NSW
www.cancerinstitute.org.au

Cancer Council Tasmania
www.cancertas.org.au

Support Services

The following services are available to assist you during your treatment. Please ask staff for further details.

  • Social work
  • Dietitian
  • Cancer council transport
  • Look Good Feel Better program

Telephone Numbers

W.P Holman Clinic Reception
(03) 6166 8000

Radiation Therapy Scheduling
(03) 6166 2747


First Published: February 2010

Reviewed: February 2012