Radiation Therapy for Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancers

As part of the multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment discussion, our radiation oncologists assess how radiotherapy may benefit each gallbladder and bile duct cancer patient. Radiation therapy may be beneficial in situations where:

  • Your tumor is causing pain.
  • Cancer cells remain (positive margins) after surgery.
  • Many lymph nodes are affected, but have not spread to other distant sites.
Dr. Mattson talking with a patient

"We routinely use radiation therapy as part of an integrated treatment plan. We employ extremely precise techniques, which spare more normal tissue, and safely treat tumors in a way not possible otherwise." — David Mattson, Jr., MD

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. The radiation overwhelms cancer cells with oxidizing molecules that disrupt important cell functions and damage the cancer cells’ DNA so that the cells’ functions are out of balance and they die.

The Roswell Park Department of Radiation Medicine offers the latest in cutting-edge technology and treatments, some of which are unavailable elsewhere in Western New York. We have a full-time multidisciplinary staff of radiation oncologists, dosimetrists, physicists, radiation therapists and more.

Roswell Park offers patients the most advanced radiotherapy treatments for gallbladder and bile duct cancers, including:

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT). This is the most common method of delivering radiation for treatment of gallbladder and bile duct cancer. Radiation from a machine called a linear accelerator is targeted to your tumor. Because several organs in this area are vulnerable to radiation, limiting the dose strictly to the cancer is important. Our radiation oncologists accomplish this using various technologies to target the radiation precisely, sparing normal tissues and reducing side effects:
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT). This technology shapes the radiation beams to the target for more precise treatment. The field shape is changed continuously as the treatment machine moves, or arcs around the patient.
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. Radiation beams of varying intensity deliver more intense radiation to some areas and less radiation to others.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. This approach divides the entire treatment dose into fewer sessions (called fractions) so that each session delivers a higher dose.