After completing cancer treatment for pancreatic cancer, it is important to be diligent with follow-up care to ensure you remain cancer-free, or to find any cancer that may have returned as quickly as possible.
Below are 5 tips to help you ensure you stay healthy following treatment:
- Remain committed to follow-up care. Even after completing your cancer treatment, your care team may need to schedule scans periodically to ensure that cancer has not returned.
- Talk to your care team about a survivorship care plan. This plan may include a schedule for follow-up exams, tips for how to address late or long-term side effects from treatment and nutritional or exercise suggestions for you to follow.
- Ask questions about your "new normal," so you can adjust. Life will not be the same after surviving pancreatic cancer as it was before your diagnosis. Give yourself time and patience in transitioning.
- Identify a trustworthy emotional support system. It is not uncommon to feel anxious or worried after surviving cancer. Whether your support is a family member, partner, friend or neighbor, it is important to have someone to lean on.
- Keep a positive attitude. You are a survivor from a type of cancer that is hard to beat. Your positivity can be a light to others who may be struggling!
The primary goal of surveillance after successful treatment for pancreatic cancer is the timely detection of cancer recurrence in order to offer patients further treatment options and improved survival, said Christopher Fincke, MD, with Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio, practicing at Methodist Hospital, a Sarah Cannon partner. Surveillance following treatment is also an opportunity for the clinician to reassure the patient, who may be consumed with a fear of cancer recurrence and associated anxiety, depression and lower quality of life.
If you have questions about pancreatic cancer and resources available for survivors in your community, you can talk to a registered nurse through askSARAH.