Brain Cancer Treatment

Supporting you during treatment

You will be reviewed regularly during your treatment by your Team. Please report any concerns to the Triage Nurse or to the Radiation Therapists on your treatment unit prior to having your treatment.

We are here to support you whilst you undergo radiation therapy. If you have medical conditions that are not cancer related please continue to seek advice from your general practitioner.

If at any time you feel you are very unwell, you should not wait until your next radiation therapy appointment. Please go to your nearest emergency department.

Managing side effects

Radiation therapy side effects vary from person to person. The following are some common side effects.


Treatment may cause mild headaches which can be well controlled.

  • Please ask the Triage Nurse to assist with management if headaches occur.
  • Paracetamol e.g. Panadol is effective for mild headache.
  • Your Radiation Oncologist may prescribe steroids if the headache is persistent.

Skin reaction

During radiation therapy the skin in the treatment area may become red and sore. It is important not to use anything on your skin which may cause irritation. Use only the products advised by the staff.

Please follow these guidelines:


  • Wash hair with baby shampoo or mild, unscented, non-alcohol based soap.
  • Use warm water, rinse and pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Use a moisturiser, like sorbolene with 10% glycerine, which does not contain perfumes or additives and is a thin lotion not a thick cream.
  • Avoid sun exposure to the treatment area – wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Do not:

  • Use any tape or bandaids on the treatment area.
  • Rub, scrub or scratch the skin in the treatment area.
  • Use any creams, lotions, powders etc. unless recommended by your treatment team.
  • Use hot packs, hot water bottles, hot water, cold packs or ice packs on the treatment area.
  • Use a hairdryer.

Hair loss

Hair loss may occur in the treatment area.

Arrangements can be made to see the Wig Service for a wig, turban or scarf. Contact the Wig Service on 4921 1205.

Nausea and vomiting

This treatment may cause nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting.

  • Anti Nausea tablets will help.
  • If you feel sick please let the Triage Nurse know.

Tiredness and fatigue

This is very common with radiation therapy to the brain.

  • Rest if necessary.
  • Fatigue may be improved with steroids.
  • See the Triage Nurse for more information.


Seizures are not a common side effect of radiation therapy.

If you experience severe seizures, or unconsciousness, your family should ring 000 for an ambulance to take you to the nearest emergency department.

After treatment instructions

After you have completed your radiation therapy it is important to remember to manage your symptoms until they have subsided.

  • The skin reaction may become worse after treatment has finished. Continue your skin care regime until the skin heals.
  • Always keep the treated area out of direct sunlight.

What will happen after radiation therapy?

At your last ‘On Treatment Review’ appointment, your doctor will decide on the appropriate follow-up care.

Further information

For further information visit eviQ Cancer Treatments Online, an online service of the Cancer Institute NSW:

If you are worried about anything, or are unsure of how to manage, please speak to the Triage Nurse or telephone (02) 4014 3654.

If you have any concerns after 4pm contact the Emergency Department on (02) 4921 1211