Pancreatic Cancer Treatments

Radiotherapy / chemoradiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses high-energy X-rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It may be utilised either by itself or alongside chemotherapy – in combination, they are known as chemoradiation or chemoradiotherapy.

Radiotherapy / chemoradiotherapy

In pancreatic cancer, chemoradiotherapy is used more often than radiotherapy alone.

It may also be used before surgery to try to shrink the cancer and make it easier to remove (called neoadjuvant treatment) or after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind (known as adjuvant treatment).

Finally, radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy may also be used to ease the symptoms of advanced pancreatic cancer. This is called palliative therapy.

Radiotherapy can be given in different ways:

  • External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT). A machine beams high-energy waves at the affected area. Each treatment lasts a few minutes and is performed as an outpatient procedure. A machine called a linear accelerator (LINAC) is usually used, which directs beams of radiation at the cancer from outside the body, destroying the cancer cells.25
  • SABR (stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy) may be another option available to you – it is very precise radiotherapy that delivers higher doses of radiation in a shorter time. This technique differs from other EBRT as it involves the delivery of higher doses of radiation to the cancer. The aim is to help control the cancer and slow down its growth.

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