Read about living well with pancreatic cancer, including finding body positivity, making lifestyle changes and accessing support in your community.
Download the whole pancreatic cancer booklet
Our new booklet 'Understanding pancreatic cancer' is available now.
Download Section Seven of our pancreatic cancer booklet: Living well with pancreatic cancer
- Finding ways to focus positively on your body — such as by eating well, starting a new exercise programme like yoga, and making positive lifestyle changes — can help you live well with pancreatic cancer.
- Keeping active will help you to maintain a healthy weight and can reduce stress and tiredness. It will also help to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy.
- If you are unable to work for a period of time because of the effects of
pancreatic cancer, you and/or your carer may be entitled to receive
income support from the Ministry of Social Development — Work and
- It is also a good idea to check your personal insurance policies, as you
may qualify for an early payment. Speak to your insurance agent to find
out if you are covered.
- A counsellor can help you to talk about your thoughts and feelings after a
diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
- Hospitals throughout Aotearoa New Zealand have trained health workers
available to support your spiritual, cultural, and advocacy needs.
- Talk to your GP or whānau doctor, or contact your local Cancer Society,
about the support services available for you and your whānau.
- Mā te rapu huarahi ki te arotau pai ki tō tinana – pērā ki te kai tika, te
whai hōtaka korikori hou pērā ki te yoga, me te mahi panoni ki tō āhua
noho – e āwhina i a koe ki te noho ora me te matepukupuku repetaiaki
- Mā te noho kakama tonu e āwhina i a koe ki te mau tonu ki tō taumaha,
me tana whakaiti ake i te ahotea me te hiamoe. Ka āwhina hoki kia noho
kaha tonu o kōiwi, kia pakari hoki tō manawa.
- Mehemea kīhai koe e kaha ki te mahi mō tētahi wā, nā runga i nga
papātanga o te matepukupuku repetaiaki huka, ka āhei koe me tō
kaitiaki hoki, ki te whiwhi tautoko mai i te Manatū Whakahiato Ora – Te
- He whakaaro pai ki te arowhai i ō kaupapa inihua whaiaro, i te mea tērā
pea ka āhei koe ki ētahi utu moata. Kōrero ki tō māngai inihua ki te rapu
mehemea kai te pai tō inihua.
- Tērā pea ka āwhina tētahi Kaitautāwhi i a koe ki te kōrero mō ōu
whakaaro, ōu kare-ā-roto whai muri i tētahi whakatau mate mō te
matepukupuku repetaiaki huka.
- Kai ngā hōhipera huri noa i te motu ngā kaimahi hauora kua
whakangungutia, hei tautoko i ōu hiahia ā-wairua, ā-ahurei, me ōu
- Kōrero ki tō GP, ki tō rata whānau rānei, me whakapā atu rānei ki ngā
ratonga tautoko e wātea ana ki a koe me tō whānau.
Adjusting to change
Finding ways to focus positively on your body — such as by eating well, starting a new exercise programme like yoga, and making positive lifestyle changes — can help you live well with pancreatic cancer.
Keeping active will help you to maintain a healthy weight and can reduce stress and tiredness. It will also help to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy.Find out more about living well with pancreatic cancer
Financial and legal support
Benefits and entitlements
If you are unable to work for a period of time because of the effects of pancreatic cancer, you and/or your carer may be entitled to receive income support from the Ministry of Social Development — Work and Income.
Sorted NZ life guide
The Cancer Society has partnered with Sorted NZ to produce a life guide to help navigate finances during a difficult time.
Access the Sorted life guide online
Talking to your bank
If you have a mortgage or other financial commitments, talk to your bank as soon as possible about how they can support you if you are unable to work for a period of time.
Personal insurance benefits
It is also a good idea to check your personal insurance policies, as you may be eligible for an early payment. Speak to your insurance agent to find out if you are covered.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document giving one person the power to act for another person. There are two types of power of attorney:
- An Ordinary Power of Attorney
- An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
It is a good idea to have your advance care planning done before you choose who you will give your powers of attorney to.
For more information, you can visit these websites:
For some people, meeting others in a similar situation can help decrease feelings of anxiety, isolation or fear.
Support groups offer you the opportunity to share your experiences and learn different ways of dealing with problems.
A counsellor can help you to talk about your thoughts and feelings after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Counselling can be very useful to help you and your whānau understand feelings and develop coping strategies.
You can phone the Cancer Information Helpline (0800 CANCER 226 237) for information about support services in your area.
Cultural and spiritual support
Hospitals throughout Aotearoa New Zealand have trained health workers available to support your spiritual, cultural and advocacy needs.
They may include Māori and Pacific health workers who will work with you and your whānau. Hospital chaplains and community-based health workers are also available.
How whānau can help
As a friend or whānau member of someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you are learning to cope with your own feelings and emotions.
You may want to help but not know what to do. Here are some suggestions that may be useful:
- Learn about pancreatic cancer and its treatment. This will help you understand what the person you are supporting is coping with.
- Be thoughtful about offering advice. Listening while they talk or just being there with them are good ways to show you care.
- Talk about your feelings together and be honest about what worries you.
- Offer to go to appointments with them. You can be there for support, to take notes or, when appropriate, to take part in the discussions.
- Respect that your whānau member or friend may want to talk to their treatment team alone.
We also have an online tool — Support Crew — to help you coordinate offers of help such as meals, childcare and cleaning.
Questions you may wish to ask
When you hear you have pancreatic cancer, you and your whānau may have many questions.
We have compiled a list of questions you may want to ask to help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Let your doctor know if there are things you would prefer not to be told.