It may be hard to think and talk about cancer that has spread or that is no longer responding to treatment. Everyone with cancer hopes that their cancer will be cured, but this is not always possible.
You can still get treatment for advanced cancer, but the goal may no longer be to cure it. Often, care focuses on ways to control the cancer and the symptoms it causes so you can enjoy life and feel as good as possible for as long as possible.
Doctors diagnose advanced cancer based on things like:
- How much cancer is in your body
- How far the cancer has spread
- How much the cancer has affected your physical condition
- Whether there is a treatment that will work
Here we will try to help you better understand what advanced cancer is, how it’s diagnosed, and what can be done for it. Talk to your cancer care team about any questions or concerns you have. They are best able to help you understand your situation, including the type and stage (extent) of your cancer, what your treatment options are, and the likely outcomes.
Understanding your situation and your options can help you decide which course of action best suits you. You, your loved ones, and your medical team have important choices to make, and you still control what happens.
- Advanced Cancer
- What is advanced cancer?
- What is metastatic cancer?
- Can advanced or metastatic cancer be prevented?
- How is advanced cancer found?
- How is advanced cancer treated?
- Surgery for advanced cancer
- Ablative techniques for advanced cancer
- Radiation therapy for advanced cancer
- Drug treatment for advanced cancer
- Clinical trials
- Complementary and alternative therapies for advanced cancer
- Managing symptoms of advanced cancer, by location
- Managing general symptoms of advanced cancer
- What should you ask your doctor about advanced cancer?
- Coping with advanced cancer
- Sources of support
- Choices for palliative care
- Advance directives
- Additional resources for advanced cancer
- References: Advanced cancer
Last Medical Review: February 7, 2014 Last Revised: March 6, 2014