Chronic radiation enteritis

Clinical Oncology : a Journal of the Royal College of Radiologists
V S TheisS Lal

Abstract

Chronic radiation enteritis is an increasing problem, as more patients receive radiotherapy as part of their cancer therapy and as the long-term survival of these patients improves. This review addresses the causes, investigation, treatment and prevention of this disease. A review of published studies was carried out using a variety of search terms, including radiation enteritis, investigation, treatment and prevention. Chronic radiation enteritis has been reported in up to 20% of patients receiving pelvic radiotherapy, although this may underestimate its true prevalence, as not all patients with gastrointestinal symptoms after radiotherapy will seek medical attention. Predisposing factors to chronic radiation enteritis include a low body mass index, previous abdominal surgery and the presence of co-morbid conditions; the radiation dose, fractionation and technique, as well as the concomitant use of chemotherapy, may also play a role. Clinical features of chronic radiation enteritis are multiple as the disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, symptom aetiology within any one patient may be multifactorial and therefore it is important to adopt a structured approach when planning investigations. The ev...Continue Reading

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