Radiation-induced cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and urethra caused by radiation therapy to the pelvic region. It is a common side effect in patients undergoing radiation therapy to the pelvic region and can have a significant effect on the patient’s quality of life.
Acute radiation-induced cystitis is caused by damage to the bladder mucosa from pelvic radiation therapy.r This can cause inflammation and scarring.
Late or chronic radiation-induced cystitis is caused by obliterative endarteritis resulting in damage to the bladder mucosa. This leads to progressive deterioration due to a reduction of small blood vessels and results in atrophy, fibrosis, and, subsequently, necrosis of the bladder mucosa and haematuria.r
The reported incidence of radiation-induced cystitis varies widely dependent upon time-dose-volume factors. For patients receiving pelvic radiation for various malignancies the reported incidence rate of acute radiation cystitis is between 23-80%.r Late radiation cystitis following radiation therapy for cancers in the pelvic region has an incidence of 5–10%.r
The onset of acute radiation cystitis symptoms occurs during or soon after radiation treatment. The symptoms are usually self-limiting and rarely persist longer than 3 months following completion of radiation therapy.r Late radiation cystitis can develop from 6 months to 20 years after radiation therapy.r