Pancreatic Cancer (cont.)
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Pancreatic Cancer Other Therapy
Radiation therapy is treatment that uses high-energy X-rays aimed at the cancer to kill cancer cells or to keep them from growing. For pancreatic cancer cases, radiation therapy is usually given in conjunction with chemotherapy.
The goals of radiation therapy are as follows:
Typically, radiation treatments are given 5 days a week, for up to 6 weeks. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes and is completely painless; it is similar to having an X-ray film taken. However, some patients may experience abdominal discomfort during the last few weeks of therapy or for several months following completion of treatment.
The main side effects of radiation therapy include mild skin irritation, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, or fatigue. These side effects usually resolve soon after treatment is complete (within 1 to 2 months).
Pancreatic cancer may cause symptoms that cannot always be relieved by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. These symptoms include the following:
Therapies aimed at relieving the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, but not at treating the cancer itself, include the following:
Timothy Kuo, MD
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