Radiotherapy in Palliative Medicine
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Public Health
Family doctors should know the indications of palliative radiotherapy in order to refer appropriately. They must answer questions about side effects and manage them when the patient is back in the community. In palliative care, radiotherapy can curtail growth or even shrink the tumour temporarily bringing about relief of pain and other symptoms. It is indicated for spinal cord compression, cerebral metastases, superior vena cava obstruction, bone metastases and pathological fracture; for control of haemorrhage, fungation and ulceration as well as relief of obstruction of ducts, hollow viscera, blood and lymphatic vessels. Management of the common acute side effects are discussed. The patients usually do not live long enough for late side effects to occur.