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Brain radiation - discharge

Radiation - brain - discharge; Cancer - brain radiation; Lymphoma - brain radiation; Leukemia - brain radiation; CNS radiation; Cranial radiation

When you have radiation treatment for cancer, your body goes through changes. Follow your health care provider's instructions on how to care for yourself at home. Use the information below as a reminder.

What to Expect at Home

Two weeks after radiation treatment starts, you might notice changes in your skin. Most of these symptoms go away after your treatments have stopped. These changes can be made worse by certain chemotherapies.

The hair on your head and possibly your eyebrows may begin to fall out about 2 weeks after radiation treatment starts. It may not grow back. Sometimes if your hair does regrow, it may be different than before.

Hair and Skin Care

When you have radiation treatment, color markings are drawn on your skin. Do not remove them. These show where to aim the radiation. If they come off, do not redraw them. Tell your provider instead.

To care for your hair:

If you wear a wig or toupee:

To care for your skin in the treatment area:

Keep the treatment area in the open air as much as possible. But stay away from very hot or cold temperatures.

Don't swim during treatment. Ask your provider when you can start swimming after treatment.

Other Self-care

You need to eat enough protein and calories to keep your weight and strength up. Ask your provider about liquid food supplements that may help you get enough calories.

Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that may cause tooth decay.

You will likely feel tired after a few days. If so:

You may be taking a medicine called dexamethasone (Decadron) while you are getting radiation to the brain.

Follow-up Care

Your provider may check your blood counts regularly.

Related Information

Brain tumor - children
Metastatic brain tumor
Brain tumor - primary - adults
Oral mucositis - self-care
Dry mouth during cancer treatment
Eating extra calories when sick - children
Eating extra calories when sick - adults
Drinking water safely during cancer treatment
Safe eating during cancer treatment
When you have diarrhea
When you have nausea and vomiting
Radiation therapy - questions to ask your doctor


American Cancer Society website. Radiation therapy side effects. Updated December 10, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2024.

Doroshow JH. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Cooney KA, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 27th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2024:chap 164.

National Cancer Institute website. Adult central nervous system tumors treatment (PDQ) health professional version. Updated January 5, 2024. Accessed June 3, 2024.

National Cancer Institute website. Radiation therapy and you: support for people with cancer. Updated April 2021. Accessed June 3, 2024.


Review Date: 3/31/2024  

Reviewed By: David Herold, MD, Radiation Oncologist in Jupiter, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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