Syndromes affecting bowel health in cancer survivors may occur as late effects of pelvic radiotherapy
Five symptoms that affect bowel health may be attributed to late effects of radiotherapy, new study reports. Studying the underlying causes of these symptoms should simplify the prevention and treatment of a variety of other downstream symptoms.
A total of 623 survivors who had received external pelvic radiotherapy for gynaecological malignancies between 1991 and 2003 were recruited for the study. Simultaneously, 344 eligible and matched women were included as controls.
Survivors were then followed up for at least 2 and at most 15 years after radiotherapy. Both patients and controls completed questionnaires designed to extract information and symptoms regarding bowel health.
As per the parallel analysis, six factors were found to optimally explain the correlation structure among the symptoms. Of these, only five were statistically different between controls and patients.
The five factors were urgency syndrome, excessive gas discharge, blood discharge, leakage syndrome and excessive mucus discharge. The sixth factor, constipation, was comparable between controls and patients.
When designated as radiation-induced syndromes reflecting survivorship diseases, the five factors cumulatively accounted for 42 percent of the variance of all the symptoms examined in the study.
Of the gynaecological cancer survivors, 30 percent had urgency syndrome, 26 percent had leakage syndrome, 15 percent had excessive gas discharge, 16 percent had excessive mucus discharge, and 10 percent had blood discharge.
The findings show that the five factors may impact on bowel health in gynaecological cancer survivors who have undergone radiotherapy. Further studies on these factors, instead of on the 28 bowel symptoms, may prove more efficient at identifying a viable prevention and treatment technique.