Treatment for CUP
When tests have been unable to find the primary cancer, you will be given a diagnosis of cancer of unknown primary (CUP). This is often a difficult time and it can be hard to accept that the primary site cannot be found. Some people may feel relieved that the tests are over and that the focus can now be on treatment options.
Learn more about:
- Treatment options
- Making treatment decisions
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy and immunotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative treatment
Your doctors will recommend treatment based on:
- what will give you the best outcome
- the location of the secondary cancer
- test results
- where in the body they suspect the cancer started
- your general health
- your preferences.
The most common treatment for CUP is chemotherapy. You may also have hormone therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Different types of treatment may be combined.
For many people, CUP is diagnosed at an advanced stage and treatment is unlikely to cure it. However, treatment may be able to control the cancer and improve your symptoms. It is possible that treatment may make you feel better and also help you live longer. This is called palliative treatment.
I have found it complex to talk to people about my cancer. I can explain it, but they find it hard to understand. It does seem incomprehensible to have a cancer that has spread but no named starting point.Jane
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Linda Mileshkin, Medical Oncologist, Clinical Researcher, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Christine Bradfield, Consumer; Cindy Bryant, Consumer; Dr Maria Cigolini, Head, Department of Palliative Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Clinical Lecturer, The University of Sydney, NSW; Mary Duffy, Advanced Practice Nurse and Nurse Coordinator, Lung Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dr Siobhan O’Neill, Medical Oncologist, Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, NSW; Prof Penelope Schofield, Department of Psychological Sciences and the Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, and Head, Behavioural Science in Cancer, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Frank Stoss, Consumer.
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