Living with advanced cancer

Living with advanced cancer

This information is for people who have advanced cancer. This means the cancer has spread from the original (primary) site or has come back (recurred).

Health professionals use several terms to describe cancer that has moved beyond early stages, including secondary, metastatic, advanced and progressive cancer. Sometimes health professionals don’t use a particular name. Here, we use the term ‘advanced cancer’.

Regardless of the words used, it’s confronting to hear that the cancer has spread or come back.

In this section there is general information about advanced cancer: what it is, how it is treated, what might happen and what support is available. There is also information for the family and friends of people who have advanced cancer.

You may find reading about advanced cancer distressing – read what seems useful now and leave the rest until you’re ready.

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This information was last reviewed in December 2016
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

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Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

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