Fighting The Battle Of Pancreas Cancer

Learn how to battle this cancer that kills! This article includes coping strategies, useful tips, and inspiration to help you deal with pancreas cancer.

Pancreas cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments are only helpful in stage-1 and stage-2 diagnosis of this disease. Sadly, there is little hope for diagnosing this cancer at an earlier stage, for there is no current pre-screening test for this disease. Although Johns Hopkins is currently working on developing a test, there is still no test to screen for this type of cancer.

A patient who is diagnosed with stage-3 or stage-4 pancreatic cancer is almost always faced with a terminal diagnosis. Stage-3 means that the cancer has spread to the lymphatic system. Stage-4 cancer means that the cancer has not only spread to the lymph nodes, but also to an organ that is distant from the pancreas.

When a loved one has this type of cancer, we are faced with a myriad of emotions. We love them, and do not want to lose them. The cancer victim, of course, wants to do everything that they can to live. The tragic thing about opting for chemotherapy and other treatments when faced with stage-4 diagnosis is the decrease in the quality of life. Often, these procedures are futile. In far too many cases, the person struggling with pancreas cancer only becomes sicker from these treatments. Of course, this is a very personal choice. Every person diagnosed with pancreas cancer must weigh the pros and cons, and make the decision best suited for them.

Doctors are quick to give hope, and often slow to give a prognosis. Be wary of this when you are dealing with your doctor. Too often, a patient is given false hope that they have much longer to live than is realistic. Of course, being human, we often hear what we want to hear. I know that keeping hope alive is important for the person that is battling pancreas cancer, but the patient must also be willing to deal with the dire circumstances of this deadly illness. So too must the family be willing to face the impending death of someone that they love.

There is a very delicate balance that must be met. The cancer patient must keep their hope alive, while asking their physician some very important questions that can help them prepare to deal with this disease. Here are just a few of the most important questions that any patient dealing with pancreas cancer should ask their physician.

1. Has my cancer spread beyond the pancreas?

2. What stage of pancreas cancer do I have?

3. Are there treatment options available to me?

4. Do you recommend treatment?

5. How will these treatments decrease my quality of life?

6. What are my chances of survival?

7. What is my prognosis?

These are very difficult questions for anyone to ask a physician. These are very important questions that need to be answered early in your battle with pancreas cancer, though.

Many families and patients alike go through a stage of denial and disbelief. Following this stage, they are often filled with anger and rage. Be patient with him or her. Remember that they need your love. Dealing with the very real probability of death can help both the cancer sufferer and the family members move past the circumstances, and find a much deeper love and comfort. Dealing with death is painful, and accompanied by guilt.

The person who is dying is faced not only with death, but also the terrifying idea of leaving those people that he or she loves dearly. The loved one is dealing with survivor's guilt, which often makes the person pose the question, "Why can't it be me dying?" Both of these responses are quite normal. It is ok to cry. You must get your feelings of grief out now, not hold them in until it is even harder to deal with these ugly feelings.

Of course, it is always acceptable to talk to the patient about these things. Although, many of us find this very difficult, this is a time that can help you become much closer to your loved one. This is a time that you will treasure. This is a time that is often filled with love and closeness. Remember that the cancer patient thrives on hugs and loving words. Be sure to use this opportunity to bring your family closer.

Many times it is comforting for the dying to share their wishes with their loved ones. This, many times, can be very uncomfortable for us family members. When your loved one tells you what they want done with their belongings, what they want to wear when they die, or even, who they want to give their eulogy, we tend to shush them and quiet them quickly. Try to refrain from doing this. A person faced with death must express these things. It makes them feel a kind of power in their otherwise powerless situation.

Remember that there is help for you out there. If you are having trouble dealing with your own or a family member's diagnosis, there are places to turn. Johns Hopkins has a wonderful site on the Internet, offering chat and many other free grief services. Hospice is another wonderful resource. There is a Hospice in nearly every community in the United States. Be sure to check with your local hospital.

You can find grief counselors, therapy groups, and other resources for pancreas patients and family members in your local yellow pages. Be sure to look up the following words: grief, therapy, psychologists, Hospice, or cancer. Good luck to you and your family. Hopefully, this article made you find a little sliver of peace and tranquility.

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