The pancreas is a 6-inch-long organ located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. It produces enzymes that help break down food and hormones that help the body regulate itself. When malignant cells grow and multiply within the tissues of the pancreas, pancreatic cancer develops. Every year sees about 57,000 diagnoses of pancreatic cancer, which affects men and women equally.
"In some cases, a malignant tumor cannot be surgically removed because it’s too close to major blood vessels, making surgery risky," says Kimberly Johung, MD, PhD, director of the Gastrointestinal Radiotherapy Program at Yale Medicine. That's when a type of higher-dose radiation therapy called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) may be beneficial.