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.

As you approach the end of your life, your care will aim to maintain the quality of your daily life, manage any symptoms and help you carry on doing the things you enjoy for as long as possible.

Palliative and supportive care

Palliative care and supportive care aim to help people who have pancreatic cancer that can’t be cured live as well as possible for as long as possible.

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 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.

Read more about planning your care.

Choosing where to receive care

If you are approaching the end of your life, you can speak to your doctor or nurse about where you would like to be cared for. For example, many people want to be cared for at home. If you need help with managing pain or other symptoms you may be able to go to a hospice for a short time. People may also be care 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. Although be aware that this may not always be possible.

Read more about where to receive care

Questions to ask your doctor or nurse

  • Can you refer me to the specialist palliative care team?
  • What support is there for me to be cared for at home? How do I access this?
  • What palliative care services are available locally?
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 March 2018

Review date March 2020