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Nurse-led care for the management of side effects of pelvic radiotherapy: what does it achieve?

Dunberger, Gail; Bergmark, Karin

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: March 2012 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - p 60–68
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e32834f6a95
GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS: Edited by Dorothy M.K. Keefe and Jervoise Andreyev

Purpose of review To describe what a nurse-led clinic can achieve, focusing on gastrointestinal side effects after pelvic radiotherapy. This article illustrates how a structured approach for management and treatment of late gastrointestinal symptoms after pelvic radiotherapy can be used as a model for other nurse-led clinics.

Recent findings A large majority of cancer survivors treated for gynaecological, rectal and anal cancer suffer from physical symptoms from the bowels, the urinary bladder and the genitals. These long-term side effects lead to impairment of social functioning, sexual dysfunction and lowered quality of life. A structured model for the comprehensive management of cancer survivors can help care givers to offer patients treated with pelvic radiotherapy, methods that could help them to more fully restore physical health.

Summary Nurses play an important role in the rehabilitation of cancer patients, improving patients’ quality of life and psychosocial well being, and they are in the best position to provide continuity during the tailoring of rehabilitation care.

Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sahlgrenska Academy, SE-413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden

Correspondence to Gail Dunberger, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sahlgrenska Academy, SE-413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden. Tel: +46793476390; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.