What are the advantages and disadvantages of radiotherapy?

If you are offered radiotherapy, speak to your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment. You might find our questions to ask your doctor or nurse helpful.

What are the advantages?

  • The main advantage of radiotherapy is that it may help to control the growth of the cancer.
  • For a small number of people with borderline resectable cancer and locally advanced pancreatic cancer, radiotherapy may help to make surgery possible.
  • Each treatment session will take about 30 minutes, or longer for SABR. You won’t usually need to stay in hospital.
  • You may be able to carry on with your daily life, such as going to work, if you feel up to it.
  • If you have advanced cancer, radiotherapy can help control symptoms and relieve pain.

What are the disadvantages?

Speak to our specialist nurses

You can speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line with any questions about radiotherapy and the advantages and disadvantages.

Speak to our nurses
Pancreatic Cancer Nurse Jeni Jones

Updated January 2024

Review date January 2026