Radiation enteritis: from diagnosis to management.

As cancer treatments improve more patients than ever are living for longer with the side effects of these treatments. Radiation enteritis is a heterogenous condition with significant morbidity. The present review aims to provide a broad overview of the condition with particular attention to the diagnosis and management of the condition.Radiation enteritis appears to be more prevalent than originally thought because of patient underreporting and a lack of clinician awareness. Patient-related and treatment-related risk factors have now been identified and should be modified where possible. Medical and surgical factors have been explored, but manipulation of the gut microbiota offers one of the most exciting recent developments in disease prevention. Diagnosis and treatment are best approached in a systematic fashion with particular attention to the exclusion of recurrent malignancy and other gastrointestinal conditions. Surgery and endoscopy both offer opportunities for management of the complications of radiation enteritis. Experimental therapies offer hope for future management of radiation enteritis but large-scale human trials are needed.Radiation enteritis is an important clinical problem, but awareness is lacking amongst patients and physicians. Clinical guidelines would allow standardised management which may improve the burden of the disease for patients.

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