Editor’s note: The World Health Organization (WHO) designates Oct. 10 each year as World Mental Health Day with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. Depression is a common mental disorder that can be especially prevalent among people with serious illnesses. Here, we share a previously published, related story.

Depression can affect anyone. But it’s quite common in people facing pancreatic cancer. However, depression is a treatable condition that can be managed with prescription medications and/or professional counseling. Studies have shown that the best approach for treating depression is a combination of both of these methods.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network stresses the importance of speaking with a professional counselor and your doctor if you think you are depressed.

Some of the signs include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in daily life activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty making decisions and concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased energy
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Hopelessness or guilt
  • Negative thoughts and behaviors

It’s important to note that it’s common for a person who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to feel sad, anxious and angry, and that having some or all of these symptoms does not mean that a person is depressed.

PanCAN Patient Services provides pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers with professional counseling resources that can connect them with a professional counselor in their area to talk about their feelings and concerns with depression. PanCAN Patient Services can also connect them with a local support group or other survivors and caregivers with whom they can share experiences.

The bottom line as it relates to depression and pancreatic cancer? Support for the pancreatic cancer patient is critical to improve quality of life and overall well-being. Having a support system of caregivers, family, friends, healthcare professionals and a patient advocate is important to address and manage the needs of the patient.

Contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager
If you are a patient, caregiver or family member experiencing signs of depression, contact PanCAN Patient Services for information and resources, including a fact sheet on the topic.