What happens if treatment is no longer working?
When a person has had many different treatments and the cancer has not been cured, over time the cancer tends to resist all treatment. At this time you may have to weigh the possible benefits of a new treatment against the downsides, like treatment side effects and clinic visits.
This is likely to be the hardest time in your battle with cancer -- when you have tried everything within reason and it's just not working anymore. Your doctor may offer you new treatment, but you will need to talk about whether the treatment is likely to improve your health or change your outlook for survival.
No matter what you decide to do, it is important for you to feel as good as possible. Make sure you are asking for and getting treatment for pain, nausea, or any other problems you may have. This type of treatment is called "palliative" treatment. It helps relieve symptoms but is not meant to cure the cancer.
At some point you may want to think about hospice care. Most of the time it can be given at home. Your cancer may be causing symptoms or problems that need to be treated. Hospice focuses on your comfort. You should know that having hospice care doesn't mean you can't have treatment for the problems caused by your cancer or other health issues. It just means that the purpose of your care is to help you live life as fully as possible and to feel as well as you can.
Last Medical Review: 04/22/2010
Last Revised: 06/22/2010