Cancer of Unknown Primary: Newly Diagnosed

March 21, 2017

Cancer of Unknown Primary: Newly Diagnosed

Being told you have cancer of unknown primary (CUP) can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.

Coping with fear

There are very few things scarier than being told you have cancer. You may feel like you’re in shock. You may not even want to believe what your healthcare provider has told you. And there are probably so many questions you want to ask, but think you can’t because you don’t know where to start.

It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This helps you work with your health care team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.

Working with your healthcare team

To decide the best course of treatment, your healthcare provider needs to learn as much as possible about the cancer. This will involve getting a lot of tests and working with more than one healthcare professional.

Your healthcare team will likely include:

  • Oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.

  • Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines.

  • Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

They will answer any questions you have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions. They’ll also help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.

You can always ask to get a second opinion. Many health insurance companies require a second opinion for certain diagnoses. For the most part, taking some time to make an informed decision about the best treatment options will not hurt your chance of the treatment working. And it can help you feel comfortable with your plan.

Learning about treatment options

Remember, it’s not as important to make a quick decision, as it is to make an informed one. You should get all the information you can to help make the decision. It will also help you know what to expect from treatment and your cancer care team.

Getting support

Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also visit support groups to talk with other people coping with cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local support groups.



March 21, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Gersten, Todd, MD,Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS