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Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2001 Jan;10(1):185-201.

The palliative uses of radiation therapy in surgical oncology patients.

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  • 1Palliative Care Standards/Outcome Measures, San Diego Hospice, San Diego, California 92103-1407, USA.


Palliative radiation therapy has a significant role to play in the management of several clinical syndromes commonly seen by surgeons: brain and bone metastases, spinal cord compression, thoracic symptoms caused by lung cancer, bleeding, and pain or other local symptoms caused by tumor mass effects. This article discusses the basic principles of radiation therapy and radiobiology, the potential benefits, and the adverse effects and burdens of the treatment plans for each indication. This article gives the surgeon insight as to the proper time to refer patients with advanced cancer to a radiation oncologist for palliative radiation therapy.

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