Managing how to live while being afflicted with a life-limiting illness is a daunting task. Nobody wishes to endure or watch a friend or loved one struggle with a life limiting illness. However, millions of Americans will die each year from various diseases. Being faced with serious disease is scarey, regardless of the circumstances. Some individuals may become aware of their ailment before it has advanced significantly, while others may only become aware of their condition during later stages of their disease.
Hospice care is reserved for individuals who have been given a diagnosis of six months or less left to live. Patients who are struggling with terminal pancreatic cancer and have been told by their physician that curative treatment may no longer be beneficial may decide to elect hospice care. The focus of hospice is to enhance the overall quality of life for a patient so that they can live life to the fullest while dying.
Coping With Pancreatic Cancer
Coping with terminal pancreatic cancer is incredibly difficult and the news can be difficult for loved ones to bear. There are no clear and easy answers for how to manage life with terminal pancreatic cancer. However, there are certain measures that patients can take to help them cope with their illness and to better support themselves. Keep reading for useful information on steps that patients can take to accomplish this.
Become Educated About Your Disease
Knowledge is power and becoming more educated on the disease can assist in coping and in making decisions regarding care. Your physician is your first and primary source of information. Asking your doctor about the specifics of your cancer and your treatment options can help decrease stress by allowing you to get organized. For additional research, patients can review educational materials such as those provided by the National Cancer Institute as well as the resources provided below:
Setting Up A Support System
Having a strong foundation of support from friends and family can help shoulder the difficult mental and physical burdens imposed by pancreatic cancer. Assistance with a variety of tasks from organizing doctor visits to helping with daily life activities can make a significant difference in how comfortable a patient will feel as their disease progresses. Additionally, the peace of mind of not having to worry about particular tasks can help to alleviate a patient’s anxiety.
Communicating Needs and Feelings
Friends and family are vital when setting up an effective support network. Frequently, friends and family may find it difficult to hear about the specifics of how a patient is struggling. Talking to a counselor, medical social worker or spiritual guide can help patients unload some of their worry to someone without putting additional strain on their community.
Talking With Other Cancer Survivors
Sometimes, individuals afflicted with pancreatic cancer may find it difficult to discuss their feelings with others because they feel as though other people cannot relate to their circumstances. In these cases, patients may find it beneficial to talk with a cancer support group. Oftentimes, support can be found by connecting with the Pancreatic Action Network who can provide thoughtful guidance via phone or online.
The Benefits of Hospice For Pancreatic Cancer Patients
If a patient with pancreatic cancer has been given six months or less left to live, they can consider electing hospice care. Hospice care for cancer patients effectively addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer presents its own unique care challenges which are most effectively managed by an interdisciplinary hospice team. Hospice care extends beyond solely the patient and also helps to support those who are closest with the patients.
A hospice care team will continue to adjust and improve a patient’s care regimen based upon the needs of the patient and the progression of their disease. Pancreatic cancer patients must remember that hospice is not giving up, it is deciding to make the most out of the time they have left. Hospice care allows for more comfortable days and the ability to pass in a peaceful, familiar setting surrounded by those that they love.
Harbor Light Hospice is Ready to Support You
Facing a terminal disease is frightening, but patients and families do not have to do it alone. The hospice mission emphasizes the holistic care that patients and their loved ones need in order to navigate this difficult time. If you or someone you care about is struggling with pancreatic cancer, contact Harbor Light Hospice today and learn more about the benefits of compassionate care.