David Mattson working with Leayn Flaherty

Radiation for Pancreatic Cancer

Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. The radiation disrupts important functions of the cells so that the cancer cells die and/or are unable to reproduce. Normal cells are better able to withstand and survive radiation therapy than cancer cells.

Radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer is often delivered simultaneously with chemotherapy, a treatment approach called chemoradiation. With this treatment, chemotherapy may improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy. Roswell Park offers several types of radiotherapy and for pancreatic cancer, the best options commonly involve: 

  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is the most common method of delivering radiation for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Radiation is usually delivered over 25-28 treatments and can be done in several ways, each with its own advantages.
  • 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D CRT) is a form of EBRT where shaped radiation beams are aimed at the cancer target from different directions.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced form of 3D CRT which modulates or varies the intensity of the radiation beams so that different areas of the tumor or nearby tissue can receive different doses of radiation. 
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) uses special equipment to position the patient that accounts for tumor movement with body movement, such as breathing. Very high doses are delivered to a tumor over fewer treatment sessions.

The Roswell Park Advantage — Why It Matters

Not all radiation therapy centers are equal and Roswell Park’s Radiation Medicine department is unrivaled with our highly-qualified specialists, advanced technology, and the knowledge and experience deliver precision radiation therapy appropriately and safely.

Our team of radiation oncologists, dosimetrists, physicists, radiation therapists and radiation nurses work with your other physicians to ensure your radiotherapy is optimally coordinated and sequenced with your other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. Every patient’s radiation therapy is painstakingly planned and simulated to provide the highest level of quality and safety and focus on what’s best for you at all times.