Self-management

Coping and support

Learning you have any life-threatening illness can be devastating. And coping with a diagnosis of gallbladder cancer can be especially difficult because the disease often carries a poor prognosis. Some ideas for learning to cope with gallbladder cancer include:

  • Ask questions about gallbladder cancer. Write down questions you have about your cancer. Ask these questions at your next appointment. Also ask your doctor for reliable sources where you can get more information.

    Knowing more about your gallbladder cancer and your treatment options may make you more comfortable when it comes to making decisions about your care.

  • Stay connected to friends and family. Your cancer diagnosis can be stressful for friends and family, too. Try to keep them involved in your life.

    Your friends and family will likely ask if there's anything they can do to help you. Think of tasks you might like help with, such as caring for your home if you have to stay in the hospital or just being there when you want to talk.

    You may find comfort in the support of a caring group of your friends and family.

  • Find someone to talk with. Find someone you can talk to who has experience with people facing a life-threatening illness. Consult a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or a support group for people with cancer.
  • Write down your medical wishes. Take steps to ensure that your wishes are known and respected.

    Ask your doctor about advance directives, which allow you to indicate what types of treatment you'd want in the event you can't communicate your wishes.

    Also ask about designating a medical power of attorney, which is someone you designate to make your choices for you if you can't communicate.

July 28, 2017
References
  1. Gallbladder cancer treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/gallbladder/patient/gallbladder-treatment-pdq. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  2. Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Liver and bile duct cancer. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  3. Feldman M, et al., eds. Tumors of the bile ducts, gallbladder and ampulla. In: Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  4. Hepatobiliary cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  5. Warner KJ. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2017.
  6. Amin MB, et al., eds. Gallbladder. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 8th ed. New York, NY: Springer; 2017.