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Pancreatic cancer patient discussing chemo treatment

The effectiveness of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer largely depends on the type, stage and spread of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, as well as what other treatments are tried. For example, those who have small pancreatic tumors that have not spread may find a combination of surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells highly effective. Those with larger tumors that are confined to the pancreas may have chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor in order to make it easier to remove surgically, which could potentially result in remission. Those with metastatic pancreatic cancer may undergo chemotherapy to slow the growth of their cancer, but in these cases, the chemotherapy is not expected to be a cure.

How long does chemo work for pancreatic cancer?

There are a number of factors that influence whether chemotherapy is a successful treatment option for pancreatic cancer and how long remission lasts. For example, the specific kind of chemotherapy drugs prescribed as well as the dosage and length of treatment are all important factors. Your treatment team will make recommendations based on your individual case. If the chemotherapy stops being a viable treatment option, your treatment team will consider other options.

What kind of chemotherapy is used for pancreatic cancer?

There are several kinds of chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat pancreatic cancer. After taking into consideration the specifics of your case, your physicians will recommend a combination of a number of chemotherapy drugs to be administered either orally or intravenously.

Success rate of pancreatic cancer chemo

Success for pancreatic cancer chemotherapy may be defined differently from patient to patient. For those with early-stage cancer, the goal of treatment may be to reach remission. For others, chemotherapy may be considered successful if it helps improve a patient’s quality of life.  

Medically reviewed by Dae Won Kim, MD.

The multispecialty team in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program recommends individualized treatment plans for patients with pancreatic cancer. Through a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatment methods, we aim to provide each patient with the best possible outcome and an improved quality of life. To learn about your pancreatic cancer treatment options, request an appointment at Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral to come to Moffitt.