- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Palliative care
- Common questions about palliative care
- Should I find out about my prognosis?
Should I find out about my prognosis?
Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. Some people with advanced cancer want to know whether and when they are likely to die; others don’t wish to know. It’s a very personal decision.
If you want to know, you can ask your doctor. They won’t be able to give you an exact answer, but can give a general indication of your life expectancy, based on an average patient. Your doctor will probably talk in terms of days to weeks, weeks to months, or months to many months. As everyone responds to treatment differently, the actual time could be shorter or longer.
Sometimes, families and carers want to know the prognosis even when you don’t. You can ask the palliative care team to talk to your family or carer when you’re not there.
Dealing with death is difficult and confronting for most people and their families. Talking about any emotions you are experiencing may help you come to terms with your situation.
Feeling low or depressed is common after a diagnosis of advanced cancer. Talking to your family and friends, your GP or a counsellor, social worker, psychologist or spiritual adviser may help
Podcast: What does Advanced Cancer Mean?
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Dr Cynthia Parr, Specialist in Palliative Care, HammondCare and Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lisa Cuddeford, Clinical Lead, WA Paediatric Palliative Care Service, WA; Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Peter Poon, Director, Supportive and Palliative Care, Monash Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash University, VIC; Dr Kathy Pope, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kate Reed-Cox, Nurse Practitioner National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Juliane Samara, Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House – Specialist Palliative Aged Care, Calvary Public Hospital, ACT; Annabelle Solomon, Consumer; Silvia Stickel, Consumer; Kaitlyn Thorne, Manager, PalAssist, Cancer Council Queensland; Kim Vu, Consumer; Rosie Whitford, Social Worker – Grief, Bereavement and Community Palliative Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW.
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