It is common to have many different reactions and feelings when you find out your cancer has come back or spread. Some people may have a cancer that is advanced when they are first diagnosed. For others, the cancer may spread or come back after treatment.
When you first find out your cancer is advanced, you may feel shocked and find it hard to understand. You may feel frightened about the future, or you may feel angry. These feelings usually become easier to manage with time, and as you start making decisions and plans.
We have information and tips to help you manage your feelings.
It is not usually possible to cure an advanced cancer. But some people may live with it for a long time – sometimes for years. Sometimes you may need treatment to control the cancer. But during this time, many people can continue with their day-to-day lives. They can still do the things that are important to them.
Knowing that your illness may not be curable can give you the chance to think about:
- what is important to you
- how you want to live your life.
It may be good to focus on things you enjoy and what you want to achieve.
For some people, treatment may no longer be able to control the spread of the cancer. Or they may not be well enough to have treatment. Their cancer doctor (oncologist), specialist nurse or palliative care specialist, will help with managing any symptoms they may have.
Some people may want to think about what they might want to happen if they become less well. For example, they may want to record their wishes about how and where they would want to be cared for. This is called advance care planning.