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For further information, see CMDT Part 9-34: Radiation Lung Injury

Key Features

  • Typically seen in patients who receive a full course of radiation therapy for breast or lung cancer

  • Pulmonary fibrosis develops after a 6- to 12-month period of well-being

  • Fibrosis may occur without preceding pneumonitis

Clinical Findings

  • Most patients are asymptomatic

  • Slowly progressive dyspnea may occur


  • Radiographic findings

    • Obliteration of normal lung markings

    • Dense interstitial and pleural fibrosis

    • Reduced lung volumes

    • Tenting of the diaphragm

    • Sharp delineation of radiation margins


  • No specific therapy is effective; corticosteroids are of no value

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