Emergency radiotherapy in oncology

Hideghéty Katalin, Dobi Ágnes, Mózes Petra, Cserháti Adrienn – Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Onkoterápiás Klinika, Szeged

Emergent radiotherapy is requested in 3-5% of all malignancys either presenting as initial manifestation of an unknown tumor or due to the progression of a malignancy under treatment/follow up. In this situation high degree of suspicion, timely diagnosis and adequate treatment for tumor-related complications are crucial, in order to prevent life-threatening or disabling conditions, such as vena cava superior syndrome, spinal cord compression or increased intracranial pressure. After prompt recognition, fast diagnostics and general management are needed to achive stable status. Radiotherapy commenced in some hours can markedly reduce morbidity and mortality and affects the outcome. There are few evidences based recommendations available, but the differential approach according to the tumor type should be considered (i.e. chemotherapy for lymphomas and SCLC causing SVCS, and sugery in certain case of spinal cord compressions). Prognosis and life expectancy should be taken into account and the goals of care have to be explored during initial evaluation. For patients with poor prognosis short course irradiation must be performed with palliative dose, meanwhile in the case of longer life expectancy the fi rst fraction of emergent radiation can be continued with selective techniques up to curative doses, which may improve the survival and quality of life.

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