Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Surg. Nov 27, 2015; 7(11): 279-288
Published online Nov 27, 2015. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v7.i11.279
Pelvic radiation therapy: Between delight and disaster
Kirsten AL Morris, Najib Y Haboubi
Kirsten AL Morris, University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom
Najib Y Haboubi, Department of Histopathology, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester M23 9LT, United Kingdom
Author contributions: Morris KAL contributed to this work by reviewing the literature and writing the manuscript; Haboubi NY designed the aim of the editorial and edited the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors certify that they have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Correspondence to: Najib Y Haboubi, MBChB, FRCS, FRCP, FRCPath, DPath, Professor of Health Sciences, Liver and Gastrointestinal Pathology, Consultant Histopathologist, Department of Histopathology, University Hospital of South Manchester, Clinical Sciences Building, Southmoore Rd, Manchester M23 9LT, United Kingdom. najib.haboubi@uhsm.nhs.uk
Telephone: +44-161-2912143
Received: May 11, 2015
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.

Keywords: Pelvic radiotherapy, Radiation, Toxicity

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.