This patient summary on gastrointestinal complications is adapted from a summary written for health professionals by cancer experts. This and other credible information about cancer treatment, screening, prevention, supportive care, and ongoing clinical trials, is available from the National Cancer Institute. Gastrointestinal complications such as constipation, impaction, bowel obstruction, diarrhea, and radiation enteritis are common problems for cancer patients, with causes that include the cancer itself or treatment of the cancer. This brief summary describes the differences between constipation, impaction, bowel obstruction, and diarrhea; their causes; and their treatment. Treatment of children is different from adults. The doctor will prescribe treatments according to the child's age and diagnosis.
This summary is about gastrointestinal complications in adults with cancer.