Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that usually has no obvious symptoms at the onset. This causes most victims to be unaware of their condition until the cancer has developed to its more advanced stages. However, some common symptoms that may point to pancreatic cancer are the following: pain in the abdomen and/or back, weight loss due to anorexia or diarrhea, and jaundice or yellowing of the skin. If you experience any of the above symptoms it's always wise to be tested for pancreatic cancer.
If you or a loved one has indeed been diagnosed remember that it is a manageable condition and that a patient can still choose to live a normal a life as possible. What are some ways to live with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer?
- Learn as much about this condition as you can. It's always good to know what to expect with your condition. Find out what stage your cancer is in, how it could progress, what are the symptoms that would accompany it, what details in your lifestyle should you adjust in order to give you higher quality of life. You may research reliable scientific and medical websites to gain more information, and also ask your physician for more information.
- Consult your doctor all the possible treatment options. Pancreatic cancer treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these. You may opt to enroll in a clinical trial program, to take advantage of the latest research for the cure of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is currently an area of intense medical studies and research.
- Get to know the possible medications. Research and consult your doctor about the different medications given to patients. Usually the dosage depends upon the stage of the cancer. These medications include Gemcitabine, Fluorouracil and Capecitabine. Be aware and prepared though for the side effects that accompany the use of medications for cancer treatment.
- Have follow up check ups. The importance of check ups after surgery and medical therapy cannot be stressed enough, as there is a chance that pancreatic cancer might recur. Consult with your doctor what tests need to be performed during these check ups, and how frequent should they be.
- Join support groups. As much as possible, surround yourself with people you care about and who would encourage and be with you throughout your ordeal. Acquire a list of available support groups from your hospital; approach your pastors or other spiritual leaders; visit counselors and social workers. Involve your family, friends and loved ones. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone.
- Be positive. Being diagnosed with cancer is perhaps one of the most challenging things a person has to go through, but staying positive will help you go through it with a better quality of life and more motivation to fight the disease. As many people diagnosed with cancer have learned to put more premium into their everyday lives and to value their relationships as never before, you yourself may begin to adopt that outlook.
- Now is also the time to adopt a healthy lifestyle to best condition your body. Consult your doctor on what exercises you can do, what are the food he'd recommend for you to take, how much rest should you be getting everyday, what tasks should you avoid and which you can do as usual.
Pancreatic cancer should not disable you more than it physically could. Remember there are ways to fight it, and make sure you do your best to make your life easier and more comfortable.