Purpose: To evaluate patient assessment of long-term effect of pelvic radiotherapy on bowel function. Patients and Methods: As part of a prospective randomized trial evaluating the impact of sucralfate on bowel function in patients receiving pelvic radiotherapy, patient-assessed bowel function data were collected during radiotherapy and again at 4 weeks and 1 year after completion of radiotherapy. Results: The number of bowel movements per day increased up to week 4 and then slowly decreased. At 1 year, the mean number of bowel movements per day had increased from 1.75 to 2.09 and the median from 1 to 2. All measures of adverse bowel function worsened during radiotherapy. Frequency of bowel movements and symptoms of frequency, nocturnal bowel movements, cramping, and bleeding returned close to baseline values by 1 year. Symptoms of urgency, clustering, and measures of incontinence were all persistent at 1 year. The mean increase in bowel function score at 1 year was 0.74 (range, -5 to 7). Conclusion: Pelvic radiotherapy is associated with a slight increase in bowel movement frequency and decrease in several patient-reported measures of adverse bowel function. Several measures of adverse function persisted at 1 year.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research