Advanced cancer is cancer that is unlikely to be cured or controlled with treatment. This is also called end-stage cancer or terminal cancer. (Sometimes terminal cancer is called metastatic cancer, but they aren't always the same thing. To learn more, see Metastatic Cancer: When Cancer Spreads.)
The following sections are specific to those with end-stage cancer. They may help you deal with the many changes that come with this diagnosis. Having advanced cancer can bring anxiety and uncertainty to your life. Learn more about ways you can help yourself and perhaps ease some of your concerns.
If you're a young adult with end-stage cancer you may find this page helpful: Young People Facing End-of-Life Care Decisions.
If you're a parent whose child has cancer, this guide, Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents has a chapter on end-of-life care and ways to help your child.
Choices for Care When Treatment May Not Be an Option
People with cancer have different goals for their care. Review the choices you can make for your medical care once you learn you have advanced cancer.
Talking to Others about Your Advanced Cancer
Learn about ways to talk to your doctor and loved ones, and how to receive support.
Coping with Your Feelings with Advanced Cancer
Many people with advanced cancer experience a range of emotions. You will see that you are not alone.
Making Future Plans with Advanced Cancer
Careful planning can reduce burdens your family may face later. Planning may include financial and legal issues, organizing records for loved ones, and completing advance directives.
Finding Purpose and Meaning with Advanced Cancer
Having advanced cancer often causes people to look more deeply for their purpose in life. This may include exploring their spirituality, reflecting on their life, and looking at ways to create a legacy.
Advanced Cancer and Caregivers
If you’re a caregiver, you may be tired and worried as you cope with your loved one’s cancer. This section addresses how caring for someone with advanced cancer brings new challenges and concerns.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Advanced Cancer
If you learn that you have advanced cancer, you will have choices to make about your care and the next steps you should take. For many, it’s hard to know what questions to ask about what these steps should be. This section may guide you in your talks with your doctor.