Chemotherapy for inoperable cancer
Locally advanced pancreatic cancer
If you have cancer that has spread to nearby structures such as blood vessels around the pancreas, surgery to remove the cancer is very unlikely. You will usually be offered chemotherapy, and sometimes chemoradiotherapy. This may shrink the cancer and slow down its growth. For a small number of people, it may shrink the cancer enough to make surgery possible.
Advanced pancreatic cancer
If you have cancer that has spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body, surgery to remove it won’t be possible. Chemotherapy can be used to help control the cancer and relieve any symptoms. Chemotherapy won’t cure the cancer, but it may help you to live longer and improve the quality of your daily life. Talk to your doctor about all the chemotherapy options that may be available. This may include taking part in a clinical trial.
More chemotherapy information
- Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
- Chemotherapy before and after surgery.
- Advantages and disadvantages of chemotherapy.
- Main drugs for pancreatic cancer.
- How is chemotherapy given?
- How does chemotherapy affect the blood?
- Other side effects of chemotherapy.
- What happens afterwards?
Published May 2017
Review date May 2019