Who can have radiotherapy?
Borderline resectable cancer is cancer that has grown very close to the major blood vessels near the pancreas. It may be possible to remove the cancer, but it depends which blood vessels are affected and how far the cancer has grown.
Chemotherapy together with radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy), or more rarely, radiotherapy on its own, may be suitable for some people with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer. These treatments aim to shrink the cancer enough to make it possible to remove it with surgery.
Locally advanced pancreatic cancer is cancer that has spread to the large blood vessels near the pancreas, the stomach, spleen or large bowel.
If you have locally advanced cancer, you may be offered radiotherapy together with chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy). Chemoradiotherapy may help control the cancer and slow down its growth.
For a very small number of people with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, chemoradiotherapy may shrink the cancer enough to make it possible to remove it with surgery.
If you have cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (advanced or metastatic cancer) it may cause pain by pressing on other organs or nerves near the pancreas. You may be able to have radiotherapy to help the pain. This is called palliative radiotherapy.
Palliative radiotherapy may also be helpful if the cancer has spread to other areas such as the bones.
Updated September 2019
Review date September 2021