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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2001 Jun;5(3):257-64.

Modern management of cancer-related intestinal obstruction.

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  • 1Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine (A World Health Organization Demonstration Project).


Malignant-associated bowel obstruction remains a common and perplexing problem for patients with advanced gynecologic and gastrointestinal malignancies. The ability to locate and define its cause preoperatively has improved with the advent of computed tomography. Initial clinical experience with half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo magnetic resonance imaging (HASTE MRI) and virtual colonoscopy is exciting. The surgical approach for primary obstructing colon cancer has become more aggressive, with experienced surgical groups doing one-stage procedures. Yet to be defined are guidelines for surgical management of obstructions occurring in the face of recurrent disease. Stent placement for upper and lower bowel obstructions is an option in nonoperable patients. Pharmacologic symptom management for intestinal obstructions consists of an opioid, an anticholinergic, and an antiemetic. Octreotide, either alone or added to the original regimen, will palliate symptoms that are resistant to the three-drug combination.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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