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Surgery for pancreatic cancer removes part or all of the pancreas. Other organs might also be removed. Your doctor may have removed:
By the time you go home, most of your pain will probably be gone. If you have pain, you will have medicine you can take. You will probably feel very tired and weak. Even simple tasks may tire you. Take naps when you wish, but try to get some exercise.
You may have trouble concentrating or difficulty sleeping. This usually goes away in 2 to 4 weeks.
You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine in about 1 month. It will probably take about 3 months for your strength to come back fully. You may need more treatment for the cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Food may not taste good to you and may have a metallic taste. Your stomach may not empty as it should after eating. This may cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. These usually go away 2 to 6 weeks after surgery. Most people regain their normal appetite in about 8 weeks. You will probably lose some weight. This is normal.
You may have a feeding tube (J-tube) coming out of your belly. If you have one, your doctor will decide when to take it out. You may have it for several months or longer.
When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Adaptation Date: 10/28/2020
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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