Another common GAG-layer deficiency is radiation-induced cystitis (RIC). Also called post-radiation cystitis, RIC is a side effect of radiation treatment for various pelvic cancers, including bladder or prostate cancer, as well as uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancer.
Symptoms Can Be Delayed up to 10 Years
Patients with pelvic cancers can suffer radiation-induced complications of adjacent organs, including the bladder. Symptoms from RIC can include:
- An alteration of the voiding pattern
- Bladder inflammation
- Bleeding that can range from minor to severe
- Bladder pain
- Urgency to urinate
Symptoms can occur from immediately after radiotherapy to up to 10 years after therapy.
The frequency of occurrence of RIC can vary widely because different tumours are treated in different ways and treatment can include varying amounts of bladder exposure.
The rate of complications of cystitis caused by radiation therapy depends on three major factors:
- Volume and area of the bladder affected by radiation
- Dose rate of radiation
- Total dose of radiation
Many RIC patients require multiple blood transfusions to control hematuria (presence of blood in the urine).