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Conditions We Treat: Pancreatic Cancer

For some patients with pancreatic cancer, radiation may be used after surgery to help prevent the cancer from returning. For pancreatic cancer that involves some of the large blood vessels around the pancreas, radiation may be used prior to surgery to shrink the tumors away from these blood vessels, improving the surgeon’s chances of removing the tumor without leaving cancer cells behind. Backed by leading expertise and clinical research, radiation oncologists at Johns Hopkins use precise radiation techniques and imaging technology to effectively stage and treat patients with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • Integrative treatment planning and delivery: Pancreatic cancer often requires the expertise of multiple specialists to achieve a successful outcome. As part of a multidisciplinary team of leading doctors, our radiation oncologists work together to plan and deliver cohesive treatment plans for pancreatic cancer. Each week, our pancreatic specialists hold a Pancreatic Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic, which allows patients to be seen by surgeons, oncologists and/or radiation oncologists on the same day.
  • Specialized radiation expertise: Our radiation oncologists have successfully instituted specialized processes to allow the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for pancreatic cancer treatment in a condensed, five-day format. (This is much shorter than the typical five to six weeks required for standard radiation therapy.) Because our team treats a significant number of patients using SBRT, we have the experience needed to optimize treatment outcomes.
  • Precise pancreatic imaging: Accurate scans are required for pancreatic cancer staging, especially when assessing metastatic disease and blood vessel involvement. In turn, accurate staging is vital for effective treatment outcomes. Johns Hopkins radiologists developed pancreatic protocol scans that provide precise images of the pancreas. Using this scanning technology, many patients have their cancer stage changed to more accurately reflect their condition, ensuring precise guidance during treatment planning and delivery.
  • Clinical trial opportunities: Our patients have unique clinical trial opportunities that may lead to improved patient care.
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Our Pancreatic Cancer Specialists

Our radiation oncologists have the expertise and equipment needed to treat pancreatic cancer patients with accuracy and precision.

Photo of Dr. Victoria Jane Croog, M.D.

Croog, Victoria Jane, M.D.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Sibley Memorial Hospital
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Brain Cancer, Brain Metastases, Breast Cancer, CNS Autoimmune/Inflammatory Disorders, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Gynecologic Cancers, Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma, Radiation Oncology, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Photo of Dr. Stephen C Greco, M.D.

Greco, Stephen C, M.D.

Clinical Director, The Kimmel Cancer Center Radiation Oncology at Suburban Hospital
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Oncology
Photo of Dr. Amol K Narang, M.D.

Narang, Amol K, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences
Assistant Professor of Oncology
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Anal Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Hepatocellular Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Radiation Oncology

Our Pancreatic Cancer Treatments

Our radiation oncologists work together to create an individualized treatment plan based on the following:

  • An assessment of the patient’s ability to tolerate treatment
  • How aggressive the patient wants to approach treatment
  • The patient’s risk of recurrence (return of cancer)

Our radiation oncologists usually use SBRT to treat pancreatic cancer. This technique allows the oncologist to deliver large, condensed doses of radiation during about five treatment sessions. This focused radiation treatment precisely targets the pancreatic tumor while protecting the highly sensitive bowel and stomach.

SBRT is often preferred over other radiation techniques for the following reasons:

  • It is delivered using a treatment schedule that’s more convenient for patients.
  • It minimizes the time between chemotherapy and surgery.
  • It may be more effective in treating the tumor.
  • It causes less scar tissue.

Other external beam radiation techniques for pancreatic cancer include the following:

Our Research

Gloved hand injecting liquid sample into test tube
  • Johns Hopkins has led the investigation of using immunotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer. Our researchers are exploring the combined application of SBRT and immunotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
  • Our researchers have been investigating how antibody-based radiation therapy can be used for the imaging and treatment of salivary gland cancers, which are very resistant to conventional radiation. 

Our Locations

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Johns Hopkins offers several convenient locations throughout the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region that provide radiation therapy for head and neck cancers.​

  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center – Bethesda 

Learn more about our locations.

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