About Your Diagnosis – Now What?
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer often comes with little warning.
Shifting from routine daily life to patient or caregiver can seem like a daunting task, but, there are many resources available to you and your loved ones that can help you access accurate, up-to-date information about pancreas cancer, as well as treatment options and available supportive services to help you make informed decisions about your care.
A cancer diagnosis touches every area of your life, so your plans for managing after your cancer diagnosis should do so as well. Take an active role in medical and treatment decisions. Given the complexity of cancer treatment, you may feel you should take a back seat to your doctors. But patients and families should know that they are crucial members of their own health care team.
Some important steps you can take to manage your life after your diagnosis are:
Find a partner. No one should go through a fight against cancer alone. For many people this will be a spouse, family member or close friend. Pick someone you can talk to openly about serious issues.
Get organized. Start a notebook or binder to coordinate appointments, doctors’ phone numbers, and the information you collect along the way. Take it with you to each medical appointment, and keep notes on your test results and treatment options. Start a running list of questions to ask your doctor on your next visit.
Get informed. Take steps to learn more about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Be Selective of your Information Sources. Be sure to consult only unbiased, trust-worthy sources when you do your research. The most reliable medical information will come from your treatment team, well-known cancer organizations, research facilities, hospitals, libraries, government agencies, and professional journals
Consider a second opinion. Cancer treatment is complicated, and different doctors are likely to have different philosophies and approaches. A second opinion can also help you feel more confident in your treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion.
Learn more in our patient toolbox
Gathering information and making informed decisions
Finding your healthcare team
Developing your support system
Being an effective caregiver
Finding clinical trials