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Vanna Dest, MSN, APRN-BC, AOCN, Oncology Nurse Practitioner/Manager, Oncology APP, Yale-New Haven Hospital, discusses the side effects of treatment with brain radiation.
When patients get brain radiation or cranial radiation, Dest says, the dosage and fractionation significantly impacts the side effects, some of which the patient may experience chronically.
Risk factors for cognitive dysfunction include age. In pediatrics, patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia often get brain radiation as a prophylactic measure or for treatment. In this population, Dest says, cognitive dysfunction is not uncommon. In older patients, cognitive dysfunction is also not uncommon. Dest notes that combined modalities can increase the risk of neurotoxicity.