Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer starts in the pancreas. The most common form of the disease is known as exocrine pancreatic cancer. Radiation therapy is used to treat pancreatic cancer painlessly and noninvasively. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is an effective treatment for exocrine pancreatic cancer, working within cancer cells to damage their ability to multiply. During treatment, high-energy X-rays are delivered to the cancer with a linear accelerator (LINAC). Treatments are delivered daily Monday through Friday. Each treatment takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The treatment process is painless, safe and will not burn or hurt you. Side effects are usually minimal, and most patients return to routine activities immediately after each treatment. Several factors determine candidacy for radiation therapy treatment including the stage of the cancer, potential side effects, age and overall health. Sometimes a combination of treatments is the best plan for treating pancreatic cancer, particularly when the cancer has spread and grown beyond the pancreas. Radiation therapy may also be delivered as a palliative treatment to relieve symptoms, such as pain, in patients with advanced disease.

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