Radiation Symptom Management

Symptoms Related to Radiation Recommendations for Management
Localized skin changes (i.e., colour,texture, loss of hair)
  • ‹Skin atrophy is rare
  • ‹‹More common: Mild hyperpigmentation — no specific treatment
  • Skin moisturizers for chronic dry desquamation for symptomatic relief
Rectal ulceration and / or bleeding(radiation colitis)
  • ‹‹Diet modifications to minimize constipation
  • ‹‹If moderate, use fibre containing foods
  • ‹‹Appropriate analgesics for pain from rectal ulcers
  • ‹‹Lower G.I. endoscope to assess severity or rule out other causes of rectal bleeding
  • ‹‹Rectal route — steroid preparations to minimize acute episodes of pain / bleeding
  • ‹‹Surgical opinion for severe intractable symptoms
Anal dysfunction (incontinence)
  • ‹Diet modifications to avoid diarrhea and loose stools
  • ‹‹Anti-diarrhea’s (Imodium / Lomotil)
  • ‹‹Sanitary pads for undergarments
Bowel obstruction (from unintendedsmall bowel scarring)
  • ‹‹Medical evaluation with clinical exam / imaging (abdominal x-rays and CT scan) to asses for evidence, level and degree of obstruction
  • ‹‹Urgent assessment by surgeon if bowel obstruction suspected
Infertility The likelihood of fertility issues may have been discussed and acted on in the pre-treatment phase. If a patient is seeking more information, contact the Fertility Clinic at London Health Sciences Centre:

519 685-8500 ext. 55224

Sexual dysfunction (e.g., vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation) Female: the use of vaginal moisturizer three times per week and a thick lubricant prior to sexual activity is recommended

Male: if there are ongoing erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation issues, patients may be referred to a local Urologist

Second primary cancers in the radiation field (typically about seven years after radiotherapy) Refer back to the patient’s treating surgeon