If treatment fails

This section provides support for young people who are not going to recover from cancer. It gives information about why talking about dying is important, why it can be difficult, what to talk about and suggestions for starting conversations.

Finding out you’re going to die

Being told that you’re not going to recover from your cancer is probably the most difficult thing you’ll ever hear. Facing death, particularly when you’re young, understandably causes a range of raw emotions and feelings, including rage, despair and disbelief. 

You may feel angry, shocked, upset or afraid – or all these things at the same time. You might find it hard to believe what you’ve been told, and feel that it’s unfair and wrong.

At times you may feel envious of people around you that do not have to think about dying. This can be hard to deal with, and you may guilty for feeling this way. 

All these emotions are natural and understandable. There are professionals and organisations that can help you along the way.

How this section can help

This section is designed to help you talk to your family, partner and friends – how to tell them what’s happening, what you’re feeling and what you need from them. 

It’s entirely up to you who you tell and when you tell them, but this will always be a difficult conversation. There is no ‘right’ thing to say and it may take a few goes. People can react to bad news in surprising ways, so be prepared for this, even if you know them well. 

If you want some help, you can also call on a variety of professionals, including CLIC Sargent care professionals, nurses, counsellors, psychologists and others. 

Further reading:

Reviewed September 2015. Next planned review 2017.