What happens after radiotherapy?
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What happens after radiotherapy?

  • Tuesday, 07 December 2010 04:11
  • Last Updated Wednesday, 26 January 2011 01:36


The brain is not efficient at clearing away dead tumour cells. The radiotherapy also interferes with the tumour's ability to grow by damaging its reproductive cycle. Therefore cells die gradually over a period of time. It may therefore be several months or even longer before the full effects of therapy are realised.

The results of scans taken during this time are often confusing. This is because of swelling caused by the treatment. Dead cells often appear as a mass larger than the original tumour. This mass may cause symptoms similar to the tumour.

Don't be disappointed if the first scans do not show shrinkage of the tumour. The combined effects of your surgery and radiotherapy may mean that the positive results that you hope for will not be obvious for a while. The changes expected may show up on a later scan.

What is important is how you feel and whether there is improvement in your function and disability.


While you are undergoing any form of treatment, you have a specific goal in mind and specific activities that have to be performed. Once treatment is over you may experience a number of different emotions, ranging from relief to have come through it all, to a sense of loss of control or structure to life. It may be a few weeks before you have to see your doctor and it may feel as though there is nothing to be done until then.

However you can still take an active role in your recovery. Aim to rest and allow your body to heal. Take gentle exercise. Eat well. Simply take time to enjoy the people and the world around you. Use whatever support and complementary therapy treatments feel right for you at this time.

However do of course keep appointments for tests and check ups, and contact your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or notice any changes you think are important and are of concern.


  1. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=thera-brain RadiologyInfoâ„¢ is the public information Web site developed and funded by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
  2. Brain Tumour UK
  3. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital


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