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Surgeon. 2018 Jun;16(3):171-175. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2017.08.003. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Hospital burden of long-term genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity after radical radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, University Hospital of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Electronic address:
Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Ireland.
Department of Urology, University Hospital of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.



Treatment options for prostate cancer (PCa) include radical radiotherapy (RT) and radical prostatectomy, both of which have comparable oncological outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the hospital burden of long-term genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity among patients with PCa who were treated with radiotherapy at our institution.


The radiotherapy department database was used retrospectively to identify all patients who underwent radiotherapy for PCa from January 2006 to January 2008. The patient administration system from each public hospital in the region was interrogated and all patient points of contact were recorded. Minimum follow up was 5 years. Individual patient charts were reviewed and factors that might influence outcomes were documented.


We identified 112 patients. The mean age at diagnosis was 66 (44-76) and the median PSA was 12.1 (3.2-38). The mean duration of follow-up was 7.8 yrs. Twenty-three patients (20%) presented to the Emergency Department (ED) with late onset toxicity. Nine patients had more than 2 ED attendances. Twenty-five patients (22%) were investigated for genitourinary toxicity. Forty-seven patients (42%) underwent investigation for gastrointestinal side-effects and 45% of these required argon therapy (21/47).


We found a significant hospital burden related to the management of gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicity post radical radiotherapy for prostate cancer. As health care reforms gain momentum, policy makers must take into account the considerable longitudinal health care cost related to radiotherapy. It is also important that patients are counselled carefully in relation to potential long-term side-effects.


Cost analysis; Gasterointestinal toxicity; Genitourinary toxicity; Prostate cancer; Radiotherapy; Secondary malignancy

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