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, the following suggestions may be of help:
July 24, 2013
- 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. 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 with whom you can talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The support of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer survivors 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.
- Management of hepatocellular carcinoma: An update. Alexandria, Va.: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. http://www.aasld.org/practiceguidelines/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- What you need to know about liver cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/liver. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Cirrhosis. National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cirrhosis/. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Hepatobiliary cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Hepatitis B FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/B/bFAQ.htm. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Hepatitis C FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/cFAQ.htm. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Taking time: Support for people with cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/takingtime. Accessed May 21, 2013.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 26, 2013.