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Patrick Maguire, MD, Oncology, answeredThe most common short-term side effects of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) include alopecia (hair loss), scalp irritation, and mild fatigue, all of which are usually temporary. The most common long-term risk is problems with short-term memory or complex thinking which may vary significantly by the patient. There's also clear evidence that chemotherapy may cause poor long-term brain function including short-term memory loss. Some patients refer to this effect as "chemo brain."