Receiving a potential pancreatic cancer diagnosis is understandably overwhelming. The process itself of getting many scans, biopsies and blood tests is also stressful. However, there are practical steps you can take to cope with this challenging situation. In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies to help you navigate the uncertainty around pancreas cancer and some strategies to look after yourself in this journey.

1. Understanding the Diagnosis

Clear Communication

  • When your doctor delivers the diagnosis, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what it means. Ask questions, seek clarification, and take notes during the conversation.
  • Consider bringing a trusted friend or family member with you to appointments. Having an extra set of ears can help ensure that you absorb all the information provided.
  • It’s ok if you need to have more than one appointment to discuss things with your specialist. Sometimes you need extra time to process the information and think of other questions to ask.

Research Wisely

  • While it’s natural to want to learn more about pancreatic cancer, be cautious about where you get your information. Stick to reputable sources such as medical journals, cancer centers, and organizations like the American Cancer Society.
  • Avoid diving too deep into online forums, as they may contain anecdotal stories that can increase anxiety.
  • Your surgeon should be able to point you in the right direction about reputable sources and can answer questions that arise from your own reading.

2. Emotional Support

Lean on Your Support Network

  • Reach out to friends, family, and support groups. Connecting with others who have faced similar situations can provide comfort and reassurance.
  • Consider joining local or online support groups. These spaces allow you to share experiences, ask questions, and receive emotional support.
  • Your surgeon can also refer you to a cancer psychologist if you think that will be helpful.

Professional Counseling

  • Speaking to a counselor or social worker can help you process your emotions. They can guide you through coping strategies and provide a safe space for expressing fears and concerns.

3. Practical Steps

Financial and Legal Considerations

  • Treatment can require time off work and other changes. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you plan the logistics of your treatment and take care of practicalities. Your surgeon can help you anticipate the treatment pathway and impact on your life.

Self-Care and Lifestyle Changes

  • Prioritize self-care. Eat well, stay hydrated, and engage in gentle exercise.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  • Be kind to yourself- it’s a stressful time.

4. Staying Informed

Treatment Options

  • Learn about available treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Understand the potential benefits and risks associated with each.
  • Discuss treatment plans with your healthcare team. Ask about clinical trials if applicable.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

  • Regular follow-up appointments are crucial. These visits allow your doctor to monitor your progress and address any concerns.
  • Keep a journal to track symptoms, side effects, and emotional fluctuations. This can help you communicate effectively with your healthcare team.


Facing the uncertainty of a potential pancreatic cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly challenging. Remember that you’re not alone—reach out to your support network, seek professional guidance, and take practical steps to maintain your well-being. By combining emotional support with informed decision-making, you can navigate this difficult journey with resilience and hope.

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