Your mental health is just as important as your physical health

Mental health

Being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can be a shock. People react in different ways. You may experience a range of emotions from feeling angry to feeling overwhelmed or very sad.

Anxiety and depression are common among the general population in Australia, but are more common among people with cancer because of the type or stage of cancer, its treatment, or their side-effects.

If you feel “down” a lot of the time, and are reluctant to spend time with others, it is a good idea to let someone know about this. Talk to a trusted person as a first step, or if you prefer, your GP or specialist doctor or nurse. They will help develop a plan of care with you, that is best suited to your needs.

Beyond Blue provides information and support with mental health.

For some patients, anxiety’s a significant component and that is an appropriate reaction. Support for that would be fantastic.

Medical oncologist

Talking it over

Many people find that talking over the things that are worrying or upsetting them offers some relief from the stress or sadness they are experiencing.

Some people prefer to be supported by family or talk to a trusted friend.

Men often prefer time with their mates over a game of table tennis, a beer or at a “men’s shed”. This provides support and camaraderie.

Some people find talking through issues with a professional beneficial. Psychologists and counsellors are trained in guiding people through personal problems. Everything discussed is confidential (private). Many cancer experts think that emotional support should be offered to everyone with a diagnosis of cancer and to their carers.

Some people find their own way of keeping a strong mind with activities and practices that work for them. Watch Chris’s story about how she copes with living with pancreatic cancer.

I was struggling every time I looked at the photo of my granddaughters……I think there should be a greater focus on trying to help people cope. I mean how do you help someone cope if they’re told they only have a limited time to live. I got told that and I just was brain dead basically……..it's the emotional and mental aspects that are the biggest problem

Steve, 69yrs diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013