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Practice guidance on the management of acute and chronic gastrointestinal problems arising as a result of treatment for cancer

The number of patients with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms after cancer therapies which have a moderate or severe impact on quality of life is similar to the number diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease annually. However, in contrast to patients with inflammatory bowel disease, most of these patients are not referred for gastroenterological assessment. Clinicians who do see these patients are often unaware of the benefits of targeted investigation (which differ from those required to exclude recurrent cancer), the range of available treatments and how the pathological processes underlying side effects of cancer treatment differ from those in benign GI disorders. This paper aims to help clinicians become aware of the problem and suggests ways in which the panoply of syndromes can be managed.