Radiation damage to the gastrointestinal tract was first described in 1897 in a patient who developed abdominal pain and diarrhea after accidental radiation exposure to the abdomen. Today, radiation-induced gastrointestinal disease is a common problem. As many as 50% of cancer patients will receive some type of radiation therapy during the course of their illness. The established use of radiation as primary therapy for cervical, uterine, and prostate cancer, as well as the proven benefits of adjuvant radiation in esophageal and rectal cancer, underscores the importance of recognition and treatment of radiation-induced gastrointestinal disease. Approximately 50%-75% of patients undergoing abdominal radiation will experience acute abdominal pain, diarrhea, or tenesmus. Five percent to 20% will develop significant chronic gastrointestinal complications of radiation such as bleeding, ulceration, fistula, or stricture.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical Perspectives in Gastroenterology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2001|
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