MASCC recommendations on the management of constipation in patients with advanced cancer

Support Care Cancer. 2020 Jan;28(1):23-33. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05016-4. Epub 2019 Aug 9.


Purpose: The Palliative Care Study Group of the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer formed a subgroup to develop evidence-based recommendations on the management of constipation in patients with advanced cancer.

Methods: These recommendations were developed in accordance with the MASCC Guidelines Policy. A search strategy for Medline was developed, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were explored for relevant reviews/trials respectively. The recommendations were categorised by the level of evidence and a "category of guideline" based on the level of evidence (i.e. "recommendation", "suggestion", or "no guideline possible").

Results: The group produced 15 recommendations, with varying levels of evidence and so varying categories of guideline. The recommendations relate to the assessment, the treatment, and the re-assessment of constipation.

Conclusions: These recommendations provide a framework for the management of constipation in advanced cancer, although every patient needs individualised management.

Keywords: Constipation; Neoplasms; Palliative care; Practice guideline.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Constipation / diagnosis
  • Constipation / epidemiology
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Evidence-Based Practice / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Medical Oncology / standards
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Societies, Medical / standards