Cranberry in radiotherapy: dispelling the myths: A review of the literature

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Background: Therapeutic radiographers routinely offer advice to patients regarding treatment-related side effects. Cranberry has long been used as a natural remedy for several health complaints and has more recently been suggested as having a role in the treatment and prophylaxis of urinary tract infection (UTI) and symptoms.
Purpose: The aim of this review was to investigate whether there is a place for cranberry as part of the management of radiation cystitis caused by radiotherapy treatment of pelvic cancers, in order to aid therapeutic radiographers in tailoring their advice regarding pelvic side effects.
Materials and methods: A structured search was carried out using PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus and Cochrane Library databases. A total of 25 articles were selected for review.
Results: Themes of mechanism of action of cranberry, composition of cranberry products, cranberry and UTI, use of cranberry in radiotherapy and further issues to consider were identified and explored.
Conclusion: A lack of high-quality data was identified in the literature reviewed and no firm evidence was found to support the continued recommendation of cranberry as part of management of radiation induced urinary tract side effects. Well-designed randomised controlled trials are required before further recommendations regarding the use of cranberry in radiotherapy are made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Radiotherapy in Practice
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Cranberry
  • radiation cystitis
  • radiotherapy
  • urinary tract infection


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