Radiation proctitis

Richard Whittington, MD
Last Modified: January 20, 2002

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My treatment for Prostate Cancer consisted of 5 weeks of External Beam Radiation and then radioactive seed implants, which at this point appears to have been successful. The problem I'm having is with rectal bleeding which was diagnosed as Radiation Proctitis. The only treatment that has been offered to me is the use of Procto Foam and it doesn't do anything for me. I am wondering about a treatment I heard of called Misoprostol Rectal Suppositories. That or any other treatment that you may know about would be welcome news.

Thank you for offering this service.  


Answer

Richard Whittington, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

Radiation proctitis is a chronic condition, which usually is associated with 6 to 9 months of pressure, pain, mucous and bleeding. It will heal in almost every case on its' own. Proctofoam is a steroid to reduce inflammation and edema. Misoprostol is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent that is also used to reduce inflammation and edema. To my knowledge, it is not currently available outside of a clinical trial. Sometimes patients benefit from carafate used as a retention enema. It will adhere to inflamed areas, is bacteriostatic, and helps stimulate epithelial regeneration. You may want to ask your doctor if this would be something to consider in your situation.



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