- Nearing the End of Life
- Your emotions or what you might feel
- The importance of communication
- Making end-of-life decisions
- Advance directives
- Life insurance
- Money and income
- Choosing home care
- Choosing hospice care
- Physical symptoms in the last 2 to 3 months of life
- When death is near
- Facing death
- To learn more
Nearing the End of Life
If you are reading this, chances are that you or someone close to you has advanced cancer. This probably means that cancer has spread from where it started to other parts of the body, or it has harmed vital tissues and organs.
At this point, you know that the cancer is not going away and that you probably have limited time to live. In fact, your doctor may have told you that no treatment can really help stop your cancer and that you have only a short time left. Many patients and family members have questions about what to expect during these last months of life. The information shared here has been written to help answer some of the questions that patients and family members ask about what to expect as the end of life nears.
Learning that you have advanced cancer may make you feel lost and afraid. This is natural. People have many questions, such as:
- What is going to happen to me?
- Have I done everything I should have done?
- What are my other options?
- Am I going to die?
- How much control will I have over my life and my death?
- Will my wishes about my care be followed?
- How much pain and suffering will I have?
- What if I feel like I can't take much more treatment?
- What am I going to do about money?
- How long am I going to have to go through this?
- How can I burden my family in this way?
- Will this be too much for my family to bear?
- What happens when I die?
The following may help you understand what to expect both physically and emotionally during these last few months. Hopefully, it will help you to live fully and get the most out of this last phase of your life.
This is written for the person with cancer, but it can be useful to the people who care for, love, and support someone with advanced cancer, too. Use this information to get answers to your questions and concerns about this very sensitive and difficult time.
There are also professional cancer information specialists who are ready to talk with you about these issues 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at our National Cancer Information Center. You can speak to one of them by calling 1-800-227-2345.
Last Medical Review: 05/02/2011
Last Revised: 05/02/2011