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if treatment doesn't work


Being told that your cancer is not curable and facing the idea of dying is the hardest news most people can imagine hearing. Please know that the Redkite support team are here for you and those close to you at this time.

managing emotions

There’s no right or wrong way of dealing with this news. Everyone is going to feel and react differently. You may be surprised by the range and type of emotions you experience and how you feel towards yourself, your medical team, your family, or the world in general. Some common feelings include anger, grief, resentment, relief, guilt, fear, worry and loneliness.

avoidance and distraction

Avoidance and distraction are legitimate ways to take time out from strong emotions and challenging situations. That said, avoidance is best used in balance with times when you do let your feelings out, talk with people, and do what you feel needs to be done. Giving yourself time to do and say the things you feel you need to can be important for everyone.


It might seem odd to be talking about hope when you have been given news that seems to take it away. But just because there is no hope of a cure this doesn’t mean you can’t still have other hopes. It could be to get to celebrate Christmas or your next birthday with your family, to finish high school, to enjoy time with your loved ones, to leave a legacy, or to complete certain goals. Hope is yours to have, in any way that works for you.

making choices

While there is much about dying that can’t be controlled, there are choices and decisions you can make to help you choose how you live the rest of your life.

Some of these choices include:

  • How to live your life between now and then
  • Who to tell and what to tell them
  • Where you want to be as you get sicker at home, hospital or somewhere else
  • If you will donate your organs
  • What you want your funeral to be like
  • Whether to keep going to school, uni or work
  • Who you want to see or spend time with
  • What type of palliative care you will have
  • If you will write a Will

You can talk to your hospital social worker or the Redkite support team about these questions.


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Last updated September 2016.