Published online Nov 27, 2015. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v7.i11.279
Peer-review started: May 11, 2015
First decision: June 24, 2015
Revised: August 10, 2015
Accepted: October 1, 2015
Article in press: October 8, 2015
Published online: November 27, 2015
In the last few decades radiotherapy was established as one of the best and most widely used treatment modalities for certain tumours. Unfortunately that came with a price. As more people with cancer survive longer an ever increasing number of patients are living with the complications of radiotherapy and have become, in certain cases, difficult to manage. Pelvic radiation disease (PRD) can result from ionising radiation-induced damage to surrounding non-cancerous tissues resulting in disruption of normal physiological functions and symptoms such as diarrhoea, tenesmus, incontinence and rectal bleeding. The burden of PRD-related symptoms, which impact on a patient’s quality of life, has been under appreciated and sub-optimally managed. This article serves to promote awareness of PRD and the vast potential there is to improve current service provision and research activities.
Core tip: Radical cancer treatments have come at a price. Radiotherapy carries the risk of pelvic radiation disease (PRD), a condition that can significantly reduce a patient’s quality of life. We argue that PRD is a neglected problem that requires investment in service provision and research studies.