This website is intended for an Australian and New Zealand audience who are interested in acromegaly
This website is intended for an Australian and New Zealand audience who are interested in acromegaly

What types of radiotherapy are there?

There are different types of radiotherapy that may be used. All involve lying on a bed for positioning in a radiotherapy machine for a short time.

Conventional radiotherapy

Conventional radiotherapy involves small doses of radiation given daily for 5 days a week, usually over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

It may take several years (10 or more) after the treatment for the full effects of radiotherapy to be complete.

Stereotactic radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumour cells in a single dose. This type of radiation may bring growth hormone levels back to normal within five years.

A lightweight head frame will need to be worn to ensure that the radiation beams are directed with precision to the tumour. The frame is held in position with four pins; a local anaesthetic is applied to the area where the pins are to be attached.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a highly specialised treatment and so may not be available in all centres.

Radiotherapy may be used as part of the treatment plan for acromegaly

Are there any side effects?

Radiotherapy can damage normal cells or structures surrounding the pituitary tumour, which can lead to side effects.

Possible short-term side effects that can occur with radiation therapy include fatigue, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, skin redness and patchy hair loss. These side effects generally resolve within 1-2 weeks of finishing treatment.

Radiotherapy can damage the normal pituitary tissue next to the tumour and lead to decreased production of other pituitary hormones. As this risk increases slowly with time, your doctor will monitor your hormone levels long-term after treatment and start replacement hormone therapy if required.

Rarely radiation therapy can cause vison defects or visual loss.

Secondary cancers occurring as a result of radiation therapy are a rare side effect.

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Please always consult a healthcare professional if you require healthcare advice or if you have any specific concerns regarding your acromegaly, its treatment or side effects. The information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with acromegaly and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit our website for more information about us, or to contact us directly. Website design and development by Kanga Health Ltd. Website reference SOM-AU-000710 Last reviewed 7 July 2020 Ipsen Pty Ltd Level 2, Building 4, Brandon Office Park, 540 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150 Australia Ipsen Pty Ltd, ABN 47 095 036 909.