Living with advanced cancer or being told that treatment is no longer working can cause you to experience a wide range of emotions. You may be anxious about the uncertainties ahead, or you may feel defeated that your cancer has progressed despite everyone’s best efforts. You may feel sad or perhaps worry about leaving your loved ones behind. These feelings are normal, and there is no right or wrong to how you should feel. Many people find that talking to their families, close friends or healthcare team about their feelings and concerns help them feel and plan better during this time.
Many of us have the impression that talking about end-of-life arrangements signifies losing hope and is inappropriate unless one is nearing death. However, death is a natural part of life, uncertain yet inevitable. Talking about end-of-life arrangements does not mean giving up; it is in fact an essential first step to making plans about how you want your care to be like for the days ahead. It can also be a meaningful gift to your loved ones, to allow them to be at peace if they have to make hard decisions on your behalf.
Below are some common topics related to end-of-life arrangements that you may want to talk to your loved ones or healthcare team about:
Living well, leaving well
You may have realised by now that end-of-life conversations should start sooner rather than later. These conversations are not only about death and dying; they are also about living, and more importantly living well to the end. While living well and leaving well hold unique meanings from person to person, we hope that by talking about living and dying more openly, you will be able to put life in your days!
Useful Resources and readings
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The above contents are made available as part of TEMASEK FOUNDATION-ACCESS (Accessible Cancer Care to Enable Support for Survivors) PROGRAMME, a holistic care programme to support cancer patients during their care and recovery journey.
The contents have been approved by the Cancer Education Information Service, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), for people with cancer and their families and caregivers. However, this information serves only as a guide and should not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. For specific medical conditions, please seek expert medical advice from your healthcare team.
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