Gastrointestinal Complications (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Overview
Radiation enteritis is a functional disorder of the large and small bowel that occurs during or after a course of radiation therapy to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum.
The large and small bowel are very sensitive to ionizing radiation. Although the probability of tumor control increases with the radiation dose, so does the damage to normal tissues. Acute side effects to the intestines occur at approximately 10 Gy. Because curative doses for many abdominal or pelvic tumors range between 50 and 75 Gy, enteritis is likely to occur.
In this summary, unless otherwise stated, evidence and practice issues as they relate to adults are discussed. The evidence and application to practice related to children may differ significantly from information related to adults. When specific information about the care of children is available, it is summarized under its own heading.
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