Treatment for metastatic cancer

For most of our mob diagnosed with early cancer, treatment makes cancer go away and can reduce the chances of the cancer coming back. But for some, the cancer can come back, even after having treatment or might have spread to a different part of the body when it is diagnosed.

When cancer has spread from where it started to another part of their body, this is called metastatic cancer. Cancer can spread when a bit of it breaks away, moves to another part of the body and grows there. It can spread to other parts by getting into the blood or the lymphatic system or by growing into nearby organs.

Metastatic cancer is sometimes known as secondary or advanced cancer. 

If you are diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will recommend treatment. Different types and stages of cancer need different treatments. Your doctor will tell you about your cancer type and stage and explain what the treatment is trying to do.

Sometimes the treatment might make the cancer go away altogether and other cancer treatments can be used to try to help people feel better. These don’t cure the cancer but can help to make you live longer or help with living life each day. This is called palliative care and is considered by our mob as a part of Sorry Business.

Palliative care can help people feel as comfortable as possible. Palliative care can include tablets to help with pain, reduce feeling sick, an operation to help breath more easily, or radiotherapy to the body to ease pain. Sometimes your doctor may give you treatments to help shrink the cancer to make you feel better. 

Because you are the one having the treatment, it is important you understand what it is for.
It is okay to ask the doctor:

  • Is this treatment trying to cure the cancer? 
  • Is it to try to help me feel better or make me live longer, but not cure the cancer?

Choices about treatment are for you to make. Some treatments might help, but could be hard to have, or you might have to travel and be away from home to have them. Getting as much information as you can from your doctor and other people who have been through cancer treatment can help you decide what is best for you.

There is always research happening to try to find new ways to treat cancer. So, it is okay to ask your doctor if they have any new information on what could help you.

Read about all the different types of treatments you can have, and read about palliative care

Life with and after cancer


Where can I get help and support?