Care towards the end of life

You might reach a stage where there are no more treatments available to cure the cancer. It can be very difficult to hear that you may be reaching the end of your life.

You can talk to your healthcare team, family or carer about how you would like to be cared for towards the end of your life. Together, you can make a plan for your care.

Palliative care

Palliative care is treatment that aims to reduce symptoms, such as pain or tiredness. It can also give emotional, social and spiritual support to you and your family. Palliative care does not aim to cure the cancer, but it can help to give you the best possible quality of life.

Your doctor might refer you to a specialist palliative care team or specialist palliative care nurse. They may also refer you to another professional, such as a physiotherapist.

You might receive care in a hospice or a palliative care unit in a hospital. Palliative care nurses may also visit you in your own home. If you are at home, you may receive some palliative care and support from a district or community nurse.

Residential care

You might go into a hospice for a short stay to help control your symptoms. Or you might choose to move into a hospice for the final days of your life. You can find out more about your local hospice from your doctor, district nurse or palliative care nurse. Hospice UK also has useful information about hospices and where they are located across the UK.

Or you or your family may think you would benefit by staying in a care home. You can get information about finding residential care and nursing homes on the NHS Choices website.

Sorting out your affairs

If you are nearing the end of your life, you may find you have things to sort out. This might include making decisions about your care or sorting out practical or financial affairs. We have more information about planning ahead and coping with advanced cancer. We also have information about practical and emotional support at the end of life. This includes information for carers.

His nurse supported my husband to make positive choices, including decisions about his end of life. He was able to spend most of his last months at home.


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