Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
Learning you have any life-threatening illness can be devastating. Each person finds his or her own ways of coping with a diagnosis of liver cancer. Although there are no easy answers for people dealing with liver cancer, some of the following suggestions may be of help:
- Learn enough about liver cancer to make decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about your liver cancer, including the stage of your cancer, your treatment options and, if you like, your prognosis. Ask your health care team for trusted sources of information so that you can learn more about liver cancer and your treatment options. One good source of information is the National Cancer Institute. As you learn more about liver cancer, you may become more confident in making treatment decisions.
- Keep friends and family close. Keeping your close relationships strong will help you deal with your liver cancer. Friends and family can provide the practical support you'll need, such as helping take care of your house if you're in the hospital. And they can serve as emotional support when you feel overwhelmed by cancer.
- Find someone to talk with. Find a good listener who is willing to listen to you talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The concern and understanding of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer support group also may be helpful. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Or check your phone book, library or a cancer organization, such as the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.
- Make plans for the unknown. Having a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, requires you to prepare for the possibility that you may die. For some people, having a strong faith or a sense of something greater than themselves makes it easier to come to terms with a life-threatening illness. Ask your doctor about advance directives and living wills to help you plan for end-of-life care, should you need it.
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