Radiation Therapy for Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancers

  • Garin Tomaszewski, MD, Director of Interventional Radiology determines how radiotherapy can benefit each gallbladder and bile duct cancer patient.

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:

  • The tumor is causing pain.
  • Cancer cells remain (positive margins) after surgery.
  • Many lymph nodes affected without spreading to other distant sites.

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.

"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

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. Because several organs in this area are vulnerable to radiation, limiting dose strictly to the cancer is important.
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT): This technology shapes the radiation dose to the target for more precise treatment. The field shape is changed continuously as the treatment machine moves, or arcs around the patient. This treatment helps to spare more normal tissue and reduce side effects from radiation treatment.