Whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) delivers radiation treatments to the entire brain over a period of many weeks. WBRT is typically used if there are more than a few areas of cancer in the brain. WBRT helps to shrink the tumors and improve symptoms. WBRT also may be used in place of, or in addition to, stereotactic radiosurgery.
The side effects of WBRT include thought and memory problems, so it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of WBRT in your situation.
If you have HER2-positive breast cancer that has moved into the brain, you may be able to delay whole-brain radiation therapy by using the combination of Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib) and Xeloda (chemical name: capecitabine). For more information, see Targeted Therapies to Treat Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer.