Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

Chemotherapy Treatment for Pancreatic cancer

This booklet describes how chemotherapy treatment works, how it is given and how it may affect the patient. Provides advice on coping with side effects. Includes a section about second opinions, clinical trials and questions to ask your doctor and a glossary to explain some of the terms used.

Chemotherapy treatment is the use of cytotoxic (cell-killing) medicines to destroy cancer cells. However, the treatment reaches all of the cells in the body. Chemotherapy is therefore known as a systemic therapy. It is an important treatment option for many types of cancer.

Chemotherapy treatment is usually given over the course of weeks or months in cycles. These are rounds of treatment with breaks in between. You may have chemotherapy on its own or alongside other treatments such as radiotherapy or surgery. Usually you will be given chemotherapy by injection into a vein (intravenous). You may also be able to take certain types of chemotherapy as tablets or capsules by mouth (orally).

The majority of chemotherapies for pancreatic cancer are given as an out-patient, however this depends on the type of chemotherapy prescribed. It is sometimes possible to have chemotherapy at home. Your oncologist will discuss with you how and where you will have your chemotherapy and any possible side-effects.

Click here for information on pancreatic cancer clinical trials currently open in the UK.

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Information Product № PCA0031v1 Published 03/10/2019
Last Updated 21/04/2022 Next Review Due 02/09/2022