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Cure or Curse? A Review of Long-Term Side Effects from Pelvic Radiation Therapy

Course Details

CEUs: 1.0

Available Until: 12/31/2019

Non-Member Price: $35.00

Member Price: $20.00

Member PLUS Price: $20.00

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Presented by Margaret Straub, MS, PAC
Physician Assistant in Radiation Oncology
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics

Recorded 10/31/18

External beam radiation to the pelvis is used to treat a variety of cancers in men and women. Unfortunately, side effects from radiation treatment can present months to years after treatment -ranging from a minor inconvenience to a major impact on the patient’s quality of life. Patients may experience bladder, bowel, sexual, skin and bone side effects depending upon personal risk factors, cancer type, type and location of radiation treatment. An overview of the causes, effects and treatment of each of these categories of side effects will be explored. Some side effects may be reduced with improved treatment planning or type of radiation provided. They may also be affected by patient diet, supplements, medications and overall health. Continuing research is imperative to understand not only how to reduce dose to critical structures, but also to minimize these side effects on the patient’s quality of life. Evolving technology such as IMRT, IGRT, SBRT and others should continue to demonstrate a reduction in adverse side effects from pelvic radiation. It is important that medical dosimetrists are aware of what long-term complications may arise from pelvic irradiation so that they may create treatment plans which help preserve the patient’s quality of life. 

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Overview current treatment modalities which cause long-term complications in pelvic radiation therapy patients.
  2. Discuss complications which affect quality of life of pelvic radiation therapy patients.
  3. Review known techniques which reduce long-term post-pelvic radiation therapy complications.
  4. Look at research focusing on reduction of post-pelvis radiation long-term complications.
  5. Provide specific strategies dosimetrists can use to help patients reduce long-term side effects from pelvic radiation therapy.