Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer
If chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is part of your personal treatment plan, your medical oncologist will use a combination of chemotherapy medications customized to your individual needs. Chemotherapy may be used alone, or in combination with other pancreatic cancer treatments like radiation therapy or surgery.
For pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy is often given concurrently with radiation therapy, called chemoradiation.
Some examples of common chemotherapy drugs for pancreatic cancer include 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), gemcitabine, cisplatin and capecitabine.
For pancreatic cancer patients with liver metastasis, our doctors sometimes use intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC). With IAC, we can administer chemotherapy directly into tumors in the liver. This allows the chemotherapy drugs to be concentrated within the tumor, destroying cancer cells while reducing exposure to healthy tissues.
Managing chemotherapy side effects
We understand the potential side effects of chemotherapy are unpleasant and may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss and mouth sores. Your care team will use multiple measures to help reduce or moderate chemotherapy-related symptoms.
Prior to receiving chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, you may receive pre-medications to help make side effects more tolerable.
During chemotherapy, your care team can also provide supportive care services to help ease side effects. For example, our naturopathic clinicians may suggest supplements to reduce nausea. Also, a mind-body therapist may recommend mind-body techniques to help you relax and feel less anxious during your pancreatic cancer chemotherapy treatments.