Your medical oncologist may recommend one of three different forms of chemotherapy. Neo-adjuvant or primary systemic chemotherapy is used before radiation or surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used after radiation or surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy circulates throughout the body via the bloodstream when the cancer is metastatic.
Radiation therapy has been found helpful in treating exocrine pancreatic cancer but not pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. External Beam Radiation Therapy (ERBT) delivers high-powered x-rays from outside the body; precisely targeting and shrinking or destroying tumors. Radiation therapy may be recommended after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and to help prevent a recurrence or slow the growth of the disease.