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What are the advantages and disadvantages of chemotherapy?

There are pros and cons of chemotherapy – speak to your doctor or nurse about these. You might find our questions to ask your doctor or nurse helpful.


  • Chemotherapy may shrink your cancer or slow down its growth, which may help you live longer and help with your symptoms.
  • For a small number of people with borderline resectable cancer, chemotherapy may shrink the cancer enough to make surgery to remove the cancer possible.
  • If you have chemotherapy after surgery, this may reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.  
  • You may have more regular check-ups and contact with your doctor when you are having chemotherapy – some people find this reassuring.


  • Chemotherapy can cause side effects.
  • You will need to go to the hospital often for treatment, which can be tiring.
  • Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, and may not work so well for some people.

Read more information

Speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Read more about the different chemotherapy drugs used to treat pancreatic cancer.

Read about the side effects of chemotherapy and how to manage these.

Updated August 2019

Review date August 2021


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