Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
The end of life is different for everyone. No one can predict how long the final stage of life will last or when death will happen. Sometimes death comes quickly. Other times the dying process takes longer and the person may linger.
It's hard to know exactly what will happen in the final stage of life and especially near death. There are some common symptoms that most often happen in people with cancer who are dying. All might not happen, but it may help you to know about them.
Try to have a plan for what to do just following your loved one’s death. This can help caregivers and other people who are with the loved one when they die. If your loved one is in hospice, the hospice nurse and social worker can help you. If your loved one is not in hospice, talk with the doctor so that you will know exactly what to do at the time of death.
If your loved one dies at home and is not under hospice care, caregivers are responsible for calling the right people. Regulations or laws about who must be notified and how the body should be moved differ from one community to another. Your doctor or nurse can get this information for you.
If a hospice or home care agency is involved, call them first. If you’ve completed funeral arrangements, calling the funeral director and doctor are usually all that you have to do.
It’s all right if you want to sit with your loved one for a while. There’s no rush to get anything done right away. Many families find this is an important time to pray, talk together, and share their love for each other and for the person who has passed away.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Ijaopo EO, Zaw KM, Ijaopo RO, Khawand-Azoulai M. A Review of Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Imminent End-of-Life in Individuals With Advanced Illness. Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2023;9:23337214231183243. Published 2023 Jun 26.
Jolley C. Palliative care. In: Eggert JA, Byar KL & Parks LS, ed. Cancer Basics. Oncology Nursing Society; 2022: 263-276.
National Cancer Institute. End-of-life Care for People Who Have Cancer. cancer.gov. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/care-choices/care-fact-sheet on September 11, 2023.
National Institute on Aging. Providing Care and Comfort at the End of Life. Nia.nih.gov. Accessed at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/providing-comfort-end-life on September 11, 2023.
UpToDate. Palliative Care: The Last Hours and Days of Life. Accessed at uptodate.com on September 11, 2023.
Last Revised: December 19, 2023