I heard the doctor say, ‘I’m so sorry but…’ and then I heard nothing else. My head was spinning and I kept saying to myself, ‘No, there must be a mistake.’
You may have just been diagnosed with advanced cancer. Or perhaps you are struggling with the recurrence of cancer. This news may be hard to believe or accept at first. Having advanced cancer can bring anxiety and uncertainty to your life. Remember that you’re still in control of your choices and actions. You get to choose how to move forward with your care.
Having advanced cancer may also bring times of reflection. Many people say they started to see life in new ways as they made these new decisions. They learned the importance of making the most of each day.
The following sections may help you deal with the many changes that come with a diagnosis of advanced cancer. You will learn more about ways you can help yourself and perhaps ease some of your concerns.
If your child has advanced cancer, you may find additional information in the NCI booklet, Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents.
Patients have different goals for their care. Review the choices you can make for your medical care once you learn you have advanced cancer.
Learn about ways to talk to your doctor and loved ones, and how to receive support.
Many people with advanced cancer experience similar feelings. You will see that you are not alone.
Careful planning can reduce burdens your family may face later. Planning may include financial and legal issues, but it can also be a way of looking for meaning and celebrating your life.
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.
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.