Coping with advanced cancer

What is advanced cancer?

Advanced cancer is a term that is sometimes used to describe a cancer that has advanced beyond an early stage.  Other terms that you may hear include secondary, metastatic, progressive and terminal cancer.

Whatever words are used it can be devastating to hear that your cancer has advanced.

Often, advanced cancer cannot be cured by current treatments. However, treatment can often slow the growth and spread of the cancer and reduce its symptoms. Treatment can keep some cancers under control for long periods, often for months and sometimes for years.

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Is there information about advanced cancer?

The Cancer Council Living with advanced cancer booklet offers general information about advanced cancer, explaining what might happen and what help is available to you, family and freinds. You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for a copy or for more information.  

The Cancer Council Caring for somone with cancer booklet is for people who are looking after someone with cancer and offers practical tips and support on navigating the experience of cancer.

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Can I speak to someone else who is living with advanced cancer?

Cancer Council NSW provide a telephone support group for those affected by advanced cancer. This group is facilitated by a trained counsellor who offers support and information to adults affected by cancer, including patients, their families and carers. 

Support groups are designed to provide you with the opportunity to explore living with an uncertain future with others who have advanced cancer. See our Support Groups page or contact the Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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How do I cope with my emotions?

How do I cope with my emotions, either as someone diagnosed with cancer and facing an uncertain future, or as someone caring for a person diagnosed with cancer?

Speaking with a qualified counsellor who has experience in cancer can be helpful and assist you and your family members to find strategies to cope with an advanced cancer diagnosis. 

You can also speak to one of our Cancer Nurses on Cancer Council 13 11 20 Monday to Friday during business hours.

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How do I tell my children?

Talking to your children about your cancer offers useful and important information to support you in speaking to your children about your advancing cancer diagnosis. 

Canteen Truce program is a support program for young people who have a parent with cancer.

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Do I need palliative care?

Palliative care is an approach that improves quality of life for patients and their families facing problems often associated with living with a terminal illness.

The Palliative Care Information and Support line 1800 573 299 - provides the WA community with information and support on advance care planning, palliative care, and grief and loss.

For answers to frequently asked questions about palliative care please go to our Palliative care page.

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