Chemotherapy may be used at any stage of pancreatic cancer to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are usually administered in cycles, with alternating periods of treatment and recovery. They may be given alone or in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery.
According to the American Cancer Society, the following chemotherapy drugs may be used to treat pancreatic cancer:
- Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
- 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
- Irinotecan (Camptosar)
- Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
- Albumin-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane)
- Capecitabine (Xeloda)
- Paclitaxel (Taxol)
- Docetaxel (Taxotere)
- Irinotecan liposome (Onivyde)
If the patient’s health is strong enough, two chemotherapy drugs may be used together to fight pancreatic cancer. They may be given intravenously or by mouth. Chemotherapy is very powerful and can lead to a wide range of side effects, including hair loss, nausea and vomiting, changes in appetite and fatigue.
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