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Cancers that can be treated with proton therapy

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer with Proton Therapy

Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed when malignant cells are found in the tissue of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach and surrounded by many critical organs. The pancreas produces enzymes that contribute to proper digestion. 

Pancreatic cancer is the leading cause of cancer death that spreads rapidly and is rarely detected early. It usually affects people who are overweight or obese and have diabetes. 

Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI  are used to detect pancreatic cancer.

Signs / Symptoms

The following pancreatic cancer symptoms tend to appear after the disease has progressed. These are common symptoms for a variety of conditions, so your doctor can check for a variety of conditions, including pancreatic cancer. These symptoms include:

  • upper abdominal pain

  • blood clots

  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

  • weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Depression


As with many cancers, pancreatic cancer can be detected with a variety of imaging tests, including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A doctor may complete a biopsy, which involves taking a sample of tissue that will then be examined for the presence of cancer.


It is incredibly difficult to treat pancreatic cancer with an effective dose of radiation without compromising critical nearby tissues and organs, including the kidneys, stomach, and spinal cord. A combination of treatment modalities is usually used, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The use of conventional radiation therapy can be difficult due to the proximity of the pancreas to other organs.

Proton therapy provides a treatment opportunity that is less likely to compromise these surrounding tissues and organs. Radiation oncologists can use the unique physical properties of protons to precisely treat the target site while limiting or eliminating healthy tissue that is exposed to unnecessary radiation.
While the transfer of radiation to the surrounding tissues decreases, the chance of destroying cancer cells increases.

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