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Preparing for the End of Life

Information for patients, their families and friends about advanced care planning, grief and bereavement, hospice care, and end-of-life planning.

On this page:
Advanced Care Planning
Last Days of Life
Grief, Bereavement, and Coping with Loss
More Information about End-of-Life Care

Advanced Care Planning

  • Planning the Transition to End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer (PDQ®)
    [ patient ] [ health professional ]
    Expert-reviewed information summary about the preparation needed by health care providers, patients, and families for the transition to end-of-life care in advanced cancer.

Last Days of Life

  • Last Days of Life (PDQ®)
    [ patient ] [ health professional ]
    Expert-reviewed information summary about care during the last days to last hours of life, including common symptoms, ethical dilemmas that may arise, and the role of the oncologist in caring for patients and their families during this time.

Grief, Bereavement, and Coping with Loss

  • Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss (PDQ®)
    [ patient ] [ health professional ]
    Expert-reviewed report about grief, bereavement, and feelings of loss in survivors of someone who has died of cancer. Grief in children is also discussed.


  • Spirituality in Cancer Care (PDQ®)
    [ patient ] [ health professional ]
    Expert-reviewed information summary about the influence of spirituality and religion on individuals who have cancer. Various approaches for management and intervention are discussed.

More Information About Care at the End of Life

  • Coping with Advanced Cancer

    Covers the choices for care and symptom control for the patient with late-stage cancer, along with the emotional and communication issues it brings.

  • Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Advanced Cancer

    Suggested questions for cancer patients to ask their doctors about treatment choices when cancer is advanced, how to manage symptoms, and how to prepare for the end of life.

  • When Someone You Love Has Advanced Cancer: Support for Caregivers

    Covers coping strategies and communication tips to address the concerns that cancer caregivers face when their loved one has been told that he or she has advanced cancer.

  • Palliative Care in Cancer

    A fact sheet that describes the role of palliative care, which is comfort care given to a patient who has a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer, from the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of illness.

  • End-of-Life Care for People Who Have Cancer

    A fact sheet that answers some of the questions patients, their family members, and caregivers may have about the end of life.

  • Hospice Care

    A fact sheet about hospice care, including insurance coverage.