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Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Joshua E. Meyer, MD (middle) works with a multidisciplinary team to find the right radiation therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer.  Joshua E. Meyer, MD (middle) works with a multidisciplinary team to find the right radiation therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used to help shrink tumors, prevent tumor recurrence after surgery, alleviate pain, or treat disease that has spread. For pancreatic cancer, radiation is often given in combination with chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy is administered at Fox Chase Cancer Center by our radiation oncologists, who were first in the region to integrate computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into treatment planning. Our radiation oncologists are specialists in the application of radiation therapy to manage cancer, and they have extensive experience with state-of-the-art therapies. As one of the country’s largest and most dynamic programs in radiation oncology, Fox Chase develops the image-guided radiation therapies of the future.

External Beam Radiation Therapy

This commonly used radiation therapy focuses radiation beams on the cancer from a machine outside the body. Your doctor will take pictures of the tumor with a CT scan and use those pictures to develop a plan for targeting the cancer effectively. The types of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) used for pancreatic cancer include:

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): Standard treatment, given in small doses for a few weeks with radiation beams of varying strengths
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): Targets the tumor precisely and is given in higher doses, typically over five visits
  • 3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT): Small doses for a few weeks with radiation beams that match the tumor’s shape
“Fox Chase has the best combination of world-recognized expertise that still allows for personalized treatment. Our ability to easily interface with each other on a multidisciplinary team enables us to tailor treatment plans to each individual patient. Every patient is unique, and we work very hard to match them to their right course of treatment. It absolutely works in their best interest.”
Joshua Meyer, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology and pancreatic cancer specialist

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In our continued effort to protect out patients and staff against COVID-19, Fox Chase is now offering phone and video appointments for some patients.

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