Background: Combined radiation and chemotherapy for intrathoracic tumors can produce appreciable morbidity. Apprehension about the severity of these toxicities may inhibit optimal patient care. Methods: The literature on recognition, diagnosis, prophylaxis, and management of these toxicities is reviewed and combined with the experiences of the authors to produce management recommendations. Results: Toxicities include acute and chronic esophagitis, early and late pneumonitis with fibrosis, myelosuppression, and neurologic deficits. Measures are available to minimize their severity and to reduce their impact on the patient. Conclusions: The morbidity of combined radiation and chemotherapy patients with intrathoracic tumors can be minimized by recognizing potential toxicities and by applying appropriate prophylactic and management measures.
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