Brain tumours

A place for people affected by brain tumours or brain cancer to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

2 week radiotherapy instead of 6 week course originally planned

Posted by

My mum (67) was diagnosed with a brain tumour just 2 months ago and has had a craniotomy to remove as much of the tumour as possible - they didn't get it all and it's a glioblastoma.

The original plan was to move on to a 6 week course of radiotherapy with chemotherapy alongside, which from my research appeared to be the standard approach.  However, when the oncology department did a scan about a week ago, they found what they assume is regrowth of the tumour a bit further along from where the original tumour and the satellite site were.

Since finding this, they have altered the treatment plan to a 2 week more intensive course of radiotherapy with no chemotherapy. 

Has anyone experienced this?  All my research is showing up is that this is a preferred course of action for the elderly and those with a score (forget the name, begins with 'k') of less than 70% (my mum would be greater or equal to 70% looking at the descriptors) so sounds less aggressive overall.

I wasn't able to attend this particular appointment so this is all I know.



Posted by

Hi Pinkpixie, 

Sorry to hear that your mum has been diagnosed with this awful disease.

Your story is very similar to mine except my mum (who is also 67) did not have surgery due to its location. Her Karnofsky performance score was better than what the doctors categorised it to be. However, this somewhat arbitrary scale was the basis upon which they decided she should have the 2 week hypofractionated radiotherapy. They refused to offer the standard 6 weeks radiotherapy and concomitant chemo as they felt that she would not be able to withstand it. We (including my mother) were not happy about this but were left with no option but to take the treatment they were offering as time was passing and it would have taken a while to get a second opinion who may have arrived at the same conclusion.

It may be possible for your mother to have chemotherapy treatment after hypofractionated radiotherapy although this is not the usual thing but depends on the oncologist and your mother's response to the radiotherapy.

However, if you are adamant that your mum has a good performance rating i.e. is able to get around and look after herself wrt personal care, preparing food etc and she can be seen quickly by another oncologist then I would suggest trying for a second opinion.  


Posted by

Thanks for your answer mobk, and sorry to hear about your mum too.

I do feel that her performance rating is good, as she can look after herself at the moment, although due to being on steroids for 2 months the muscles in her legs have suffered - but she is still getting about.  I'm guessing the change is due to the tumour regrowth which seems very fast and somehow this has labeled her 'poor prognosis'?!  I'm just guessing of course.

The radiotherapy starts today so no time for a 2nd opinion - they have brought the start date right forward now it's just a 2 week course - I believe in light of the emergence of more tumour growth.  The oncologist did apparently say there were 'other things to try' after this, maybe chemo as you mention - but when I asked my parents what these other things were, they didn't know and I wondered if they're being shielded from the harsh realities here.