Care towards end of life

As you approach the end of your life, your care will focus on managing any symptoms of your pancreatic cancer, as well as supporting you emotionally and practically.

Key facts about your care

  • As you approach the end of your life, your care will aim to manage any symptoms and help you carry on doing the things you enjoy for as long as possible.
  • You may see a specialist palliative care team, who can help manage your symptoms and provide emotional support.
  • Hospices provide specialist palliative care, and so you may visit one for an appointment to help with symptoms, or to stay for a short time.
  • It can be useful to think early on about how you want to be cared for in the future. You don’t have to wait for a health professional to speak to you about this.
  • You can speak to your healthcare team about where you would like to be cared for in the future. This may be at home, in a hospice, at hospital or in a care home

Palliative care

You may hear the term palliative care. The aim of palliative care is to help you live as well as possible for as long as possible. It helps to manage symptoms, such as pain.

It provides people with emotional, physical, practical and spiritual support to help them deal with pancreatic cancer that can’t be cured. It also supports family members.

If you have been told that you only have a few months to live, you should be referred to a specialist palliative care team.

Read more about palliative care

Planning your care

It can be useful to think early on about how you want to be cared for in the future. This is because as you become less well, you may be less able to make decisions about your care or tell your family, doctors or nurses what you want.

It can be difficult to think about your future care, but it can help you feel more in control. It also makes it easier for the people around you to follow your wishes.

You can talk to your healthcare team at any time about how you would like to be cared for in the last weeks and days of your life. You don’t have to wait for them to speak to you about this.

Read more about planning your care.

Choosing where to receive care

You can speak to your doctor or nurse about where you would like to be cared for. This can be recorded in any plans you make about your care. For example, you may want to be cared for at home. If you need help managing symptoms, you may be able to go to a hospice for a short time. People can also be cared for in hospital, or a care home.

Your doctor or nurse can try to arrange support and care so that you can be cared for where you wish. But be aware that this may not always be possible. Speak to your family as well so that they are aware of your wishes.

Read more about where to receive care

Questions to ask your doctor or nurse


  • Can you refer me to the palliative care team?
  • What palliative care services are available locally?
  • What support is there for me to be cared for at home? How do I get this support?
  • Is there support for my family members or carers?
  • Who should I contact in an emergency, at night or at the weekend?
  • Where is the local hospice and what services do they provide?
  • Can you help me plan my future care?
  • What is the best way for me to record my decisions for the future?
  • Can I choose where I die and who is with me?

Where to find more information

  • Marie Curie have information for people at the end of life and their families, including information about how to care for someone at home, and information about Marie Curie nurses and hospices.
  • Hospice UK explain what hospice care is, and you can search for hospices near you.
  • The NHS website and NHS Inform have more information about care at the end of life, including planning your care.
  • Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie both have information about planning and arranging care, and sorting out your affairs and financial issues.
  • Compassion in Dying provide information about planning your care. Their website, My decisions, can help you record your decisions about your care.
  • Healthtalk.org shares people’s experiences as stories or videos. They have experiences of pancreatic cancer, including from people who have advanced pancreatic cancer talking about their care and planning for the end of life.

Published April 2021

Review date April 2023