Being told you have pancreatic cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning more about pancreatic cancer and your treatment options can help you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
You’ll likely have different types of healthcare providers on your healthcare team. These might include:
Surgical oncologist (oncologic surgeon). This healthcare provider uses surgery to treat cancer.
Medical oncologist. This healthcare provider treats cancer with medicines like chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This healthcare provider treats cancer with radiation.
Endocrinologist. This healthcare provider treats diseases of hormone-making glands, such as the pancreas.
Many other healthcare providers will be part of your team as well. They'll answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about the cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than 1 healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment. Your healthcare team can help you with this. Also ask about websites or other sources of information that you can use to learn more.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with pancreatic cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.