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Coping with pancreatic cancer

Men and women discussing pancreatic cancer

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer both practically and emotionally. You can find the following information

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused.

How the cancer might affect you physically

Pancreatic cancer and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. You may have jaundice and may lose weight. You may also have to cope with feeling very tired and lacking in energy a lot of the time. Tiredness may be worse during and immediately after treatment, or if your cancer is advanced. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. Give yourself time to adjust. You can get help and advice from your doctor or specialist nurse about treatment and how to cope.

Managing practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell that you have cancer? There may be children to think about.

It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it. Your doctor or specialist cancer nurse can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting those with cancer. Our coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about your feelings, talking to people about cancer, how to help yourself, who else can help you, sex and sexuality, and financial matters.
 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the living with pancreatic cancer section.

 

 

Coping with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. It is very important to get the right information about the type of cancer you have and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

There is information about coping emotionally with cancer in our coping with cancer section.

If you have been diagnosed with advanced cancer it can be especially difficult. There is detailed information about living with advanced pancreatic cancer in this section.

 

How pancreatic cancer can affect you physically

Pancreatic cancer and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. You may have jaundice and may have lost weight. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. Such changes can affect your self esteem and the way you relate to other people, especially close family and friends.

Jaundice can cause itching and very dry skin which can be difficult to deal with. There is information about skin problems and how to manage them in the coping with cancer section.

You may also have to cope with feeling very tired and lacking in energy a lot of the time. Tiredness may be worse during and after treatment, or if your cancer is advanced. There is information about tiredness and cancer and about treatment for cancer fatigue in the section about coping physically with cancer. If you have weight loss you may find it helpful to look at the information about diet and pancreatic cancer.

If you are in a sexual relationship, these changes may affect your sex life. You may find that your sexual desire is less and that you feel differently about yourself. This can affect your relationship with a partner. Everyone is different but it can be helpful to try talking to your partner about your feelings. It may be hard for them to understand unless you explain how you feel.

There is information about how cancer can affect your sex life in the coping with cancer section.

 

Managing practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you may have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Your job or career may be affected. Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may also have children to think about.

The coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about

 

More information about coping with cancer

Try to remember that you don’t have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. Your doctor or specialist cancer nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting those with cancer. These people are there to help and want you to feel that you have lots of support. So use them if you feel you need to.

Some of the pancreatic cancer organisations offer help and support. There are also details of counselling organisations which can tell you more about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area.

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Updated: 7 June 2014