Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)

Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)

What is cancer of unknown primary?

Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is a cancer that has spread from somewhere else in the body, but test results don’t show where in the body it started.

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 Cancer of unknown primary symptoms

Symptoms are different for everyone and are related to the area where the cancer has spread (secondary sites in the body). Some people with CUP have few or no symptoms, while others have a range of symptoms. They may include:

  • bone pain and/or back pain
  • nausea
  • swelling and discomfort in the abdomen, or fluid collecting in the abdomen (ascites)
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, chest or groin.

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 Cancer of unknown primary statistics

  • CUP is the eighth most common cancer in Australia.
  • There are nearly 3000 new cases of CUP diagnosed each year in Australia.
  • It is the seventh most common cancer in women and the ninth most common in men.

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The aim of this information is to help you understand about cancer of unknown primary. We cannot advise you about the best treatment for you. You need to discuss this with your doctors. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about the questions you would like to ask your doctors or other health carers.