Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation in Small-Cell Lung Cancer

I went through all the treatments chemo and radiation for small cell limited to the lower right lung.
Just had a cat-scan and MRI of the brain.
All looks good but now my radiologist wants to radiate my brain as a
preventative measure to possible prevent spread.
I would like to hear from people who have had this done as to side
effects.
I am leery of having this done.
Thanks for replies.
I am 70 and in good heath otherwise drive and function well.
Do not want to become a ?

Report post

8 replies. Join the discussion

Hi, The doctor wants to do this because small cell lung cancer is known to go to the brain ,most people have little effects, but some do not ,Small cell lung cancer is a horrible form of lung cancer , I would do it most people with Small cell have Extensive Disease at the time of finding it which is almost impossible to cure Limited gives you a good chance to beat it Bill

Report post

hov,

Very difficult and controversial decision for you. It's a "knee jerk" decision for the medical community despite it's very limited success. It's success in preventing mets is fleeting but, it's high incidence of cognitive damage is permanent. The older you are, the worse the damage.
There are a few here with decent results but, significantly younger.
I had NSCLC & refused WBR, not sure what I would do in your position except scour the globe for GammaKnife if brain mets did develop.
The proverbial, rock and a hard place!

G

Report post

As G said, there's no guarantee even after PCI that you won't develop brain mets. It comes down to a personal decision. Forego the PCI and wait and see if they ever show up and deal with them then, or get the PCI. Take care, Judy

Report post

Thanks for all replies.I hope more people reply as I need
to make a decision soon.
My radiologist tells me there is a 60 to 70 % chance of it
spreading to the brain without this treatment.
The MRI I did last week showed nothing in the brain.
Need more info.
To all reading this please do some research for me.
Thanks to all.
John

Report post

hov,

Yes, the likelihood of developing brain mets is very high BUT, ask him/her how long PCI will protect your brain?
Ask if there are any focal treatments such as Gamma or CyberKnife options available if you develop mets?

G

Report post

My brother didn`t get the PCI in time so he ended up with a brain met..he was then given the choice to get SRT ( stereotactic radiation treatment...{gammaknife} ) but he chose to get the WBR, as the radiation oncologist told him there could be tiny cancer cells unseen by a MRI.
PCI is a preventive measure to help lessen the chances of mets to the brain as SCLC does tend to travel to the brain.
As with any treatment ..there are no guarantees.
So just as Judy says..get the PCI and hope it works, or wait and see if the cancer metastisizes to the brain. There are those who done well with the PCI with little side effects. I would also think age can be factor here as to the cognitive effects of PCI.
I do, how ever, wish my brother could have gotten the PCI before a met showed up in his brain..maybe it would have helped..I don`t know.
Good luck in your decision and God bless.
Darlene.

Report post

I've asked the same question if you would like to look on my profile, I got some good info. My Mom is at the same place in treatment. She has a consult with the radiation oncologist next week. we are leaning at going for the radiation.

Report post

Hi Hov, I had PCI in March 2011 and I'm glad I did. I had had MRI's that showed nothing going on in my brain but had also had some neuro symptoms that made me fear that there may be something, too small to see - but there. My Rad Onc told me that the PCI would cut my chances of a recurrence in the brain from 50% down to 14% and that he would recommend it to his own family member....

I decided to just do it and get it over with so I started 2 weeks after finishing my 6th rd of chemo. My hair (which I was able to hang on to through chemo) came out the following week; I think some neighborhood birds are probably nesting in it as we speak...= )

I also had balance, memory, sinus/ear problems and threw up once in the beginning but over time when the inflammation subsided (my Rad Onc doesn't like steroids and I used Ibuprofen and cool packs only) I started to be ME again and actually started remembering things long forgotten. It takes awhile for the hair to start to grow again, but mine has all come back and I have remained in complete remission since Feb 2011. Of course, the choice is up to you but I would recommend going ahead with it, it eased my mind a bit. Good Luck!!! ♥ Viktory

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Photo of Dave Grant

The Lung Cancer Survivors Support Community has provided support for patients, caregivers, families and friends since 2006. We welcome over 600 new members every month in the fight against lung cancer.

ALK mutations and lung cancer

Join the discussion about ALK mutations and lung cancer

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Community leaders