Radionecrosis is a complication of cancer radiation therapy, especially external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). Necrosis means the death of cells in bones, organs, and soft tissues. Side effects of radiation therapy may not present a health problem for months or even years after treatment.
To irradiate a cancer tumor physicians and technicians always risk damaging nearby soft tissue and bone.
Delayed radiation injuries most often stem from scarring and restricted blood flow near the tumor treatment site.
The linings of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract are especially vulnerable to radiation damage.
Radionecrosis may also be caused by radiation overdose or by misdirected beams of radiation, whether resulting from human error or from device malfunction.