Rectal stenosis after radiation to the prostate

Last Modified: February 3, 2005

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
In 1993, I received radiation treatment for prostate cancer. In the last year, I have been having a problem with rectal stenosis. My oncologist gave me a dilator. I tried to use the dilator but it would not go in. What should I do?

Answer

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

Actually, the person to see about this is a gastroenterologist or a colorectal surgeon. It usually requires an endoscopic dilatation with a balloon device and may require repeated dilatations. It has to be done carefully because if the mucosa is disrupted or the scar tissue is torn it can result in an infection or necrosis which causes worse fibrosis. If it is mild we usually manage it with stool softeners.


News
Addition of radiation therapy to rectal, prostate cancer treatments studied

Nov 1, 2010 - Radiation therapy appears to reduce recurrence rates when added to surgical treatment of rectal cancer and to increase survival when added to medical management of prostate cancer, and a highly targeted radiation approach may reduce gastrointestinal complications associated with prostate cancer treatment, according to three studies to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 in San Diego.



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