When the cancer is advanced
Many people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer think about what will happen if or when the disease progresses. You may question how much more time you have to live and begin going over your life and what it has meant for you. These thoughts are natural.
Being told that you have advanced cancer may bring up different emotions and reactions. You may not know what to say or think; you may feel sadness, anger, disbelief or fear. There is no right or wrong way to react. Give yourself time to take in what is happening and accept that some days will be easier than others.
You might find it helpful to talk to your GP and the palliative care doctors and nurses about what you are going through. They can explain what to expect and how any symptoms will be managed. The specialist palliative care team may include a social worker, counsellor or spiritual care practitioner (pastoral carer), and you can talk to them about how you are feeling. If you are not already in contact with a palliative care service, talk to your cancer specialist about a referral. You can also ask your specialist or GP about seeing a clinical psychologist.
Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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