REVIEW – December 2009

Cancer treatment-induced diarrhoea


Articles PDF


Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are inevitably associated with a certain risk for side effects affecting normal tissues. Cancer treatment-related side effects can infl uence the quality of life of patients, decrease their tolerability of therapy and can also lead to treatment interruptions. Cancer treatmentinduced diarrhoea affects a high percentage of patients with cancer who receive pelvic radiotherapy and systemic chemotherapy. This review paper focuses on this side effect  describing its incidence, pathogenesis and symptoms. Moreover, problems related to early recognition and diagnosis of cancer treatment-related diarrhoea are presented. Treatment opt ions, including dietary suggestions, are discussed. Education of patients, and early recognition and management of diarrhoea are essential for positively influencing the patients’ quality of life and for increasing the effi cacy of cancer treatment.