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Definition of «Radiation fibrosis»

Radiation fibrosis: Scarring of the lungs from radiation.

Radiation fibrosis is a sequel of radiation pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs due to radiation), as from radiation therapy. Radiation pneumonitis typically occurs after radiation treatments for cancer within the chest or breast and usually manifests itself 2 weeks to 6 months after completion of radiation therapy. Symptoms include shortness of breath upon activity, cough and fever. Radiation pneumonitis frequently is discovered as an incidental finding on chest x-ray in patients who have no symptoms.

Scarring of the lungs with radiation fibrosis is an aftermath of persistent radiation pneumonitis. Radiation fibrosis typically occurs a year after the completion of radiation treatments.

Whereas radiation pneumonitis is often reversible with medications that reduce inflammation, such as cortisone drugs (prednisone and others), radiation fibrosis is usually irreversible and permanent.

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