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Corticosteroids for the resolution of malignant bowel obstruction in advanced gynaecological and gastrointestinal cancer

Feuer DDJ, Broadley KE
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Corticosteroids may reduce bowel obstruction for people with advanced gastrointestinal or ovarian cancer. Malignant bowel obstruction is fairly common in people with gastrointestinal (gut) cancer or ovarian cancer. It can lead to pain, vomiting, nausea, or complete constipation. Corticosteroids may lower inflammation and so help to reduce the obstruction especially if surgery is not considered to be suitable. The review found that corticosteroids may reduce bowel obstruction for people with these cancers, with a low rate of adverse effects. The treatment does not appear to affect survival rates compared to the placebo.