Coping with advanced cancer
This section aims to help people who have been told their cancer has spread or come back. It is also for their relatives and friends.
This section outlines common concerns and problems, and advises on how to cope with them. Throughout this section you will find quotations from people with advanced cancer. We thank all those people who have shared their feelings and experiences with us.
Not all the information here will apply to you, and you may find that this section talks about things that don’t affect you or that you don’t want to read about. The menu on the left side of this page will help you decide which sections would be most helpful to you.
You may have been told that it’s not possible to cure your cancer. While no one can predict for certain what will happen to a particular person, your doctors will have said this on the basis of the evidence they have and their experience. It may be possible, although it is rare, for an advanced cancer to be cured. Treatment may be available to control the cancer and prolong life, perhaps for a number of years or maybe just for a number of months. For some people, it may not be possible to treat the cancer itself, perhaps because they have a type of cancer that doesn’t respond well to treatment or because they aren’t well enough to have cancer treatment. However, treatment can be given to control symptoms, such as pain, feeling sick (nausea) or breathlessness.