Opportunities for rehabilitation of patients with radiation fibrosis syndrome

Rep Pract Oncol Radiother. 2013 Aug 8;19(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.rpor.2013.07.007. eCollection 2014 Jan.


This review discusses the pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and functional disorders that can result as late effects of radiation treatment. Although radiation therapy is often an effective method of killing cancer cells, it can also damage nearby blood vessels that nourish the skin, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, bones and lungs. This can result in a progressive condition called radiation fibrosis syndrome (RFS). It is generally a late complication of radiotherapy which may manifest clinically years after treatment. Radiation-induced damage can include "myelo-radiculo-plexo-neuro-myopathy," causing muscle weakness and dysfunction and contributing to neuromuscular injury. RFS is a serious and lifelong disorder which, nevertheless, may often be decremented when identified and rehabilitated early enough. This medical treatment should be a complex procedure consisting of education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthotics as well as medications.

Keywords: Oncology; Physical therapy; Radiotherapy; Side effects of therapy.

Publication types

  • Review