CancerCare Manitoba
Advance Care Planning


Cancer and Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning is a way to help you think about, talk about and document your wishes for the future. It is a process that can assist you in making health care decisions now and for the future.

If there is a time when you are unable to speak for yourself, it is important that your loved ones and your health care team understand your wishes for health care. None of us know what tomorrow might bring. Planning today can ensure that your wishes are known, no matter what the future holds.

Advance care planning may bring comfort and peace of mind to you and your loved ones who may have to make health care decisions on your behalf. You may never need an advance care plan but if you do, your loved ones will appreciate knowing what you would want done next.

Diagnosis and Treatment Plans

You might have a number of questions during the course of your cancer treatment. It's important to discuss them with your cancer care team so that you can make informed decisions about your advance care plan:

  • What impact will cancer have on your life?
    • What is the likely course?
  • What are your options if your health quickly gets worse?
    • How will the treatment plan start? Is the treatment meant to cure the cancer or just make you more comfortable or both?
    • What side effects or complications could be caused by your treatment?
  • What is the best you can hope for with this treatment?
    • How will you know if the cancer has progressed? Will there be any signs or symptoms?
    • Does having advanced cancer change the effectiveness of any other treatments you might have?
  • What options are available to you if you don't want to start or continue treatment?
    • When would someone consider palliative care?
    • What about life prolonging or life sustaining treatments? How do you decide whether or not to have these treatments?
  • What options are available if you are having difficulty coping with the physical or psychological burden of cancer?

Make sure that you ask these questions throughout your cancer treatment, not just at the beginning. It is important to tell your cancer care team how much information you would like and what is important to you.

"I wish we had made a plan earlier. Things happened really fast, and by the time was on a ventilator, it was difficult to know what he would have wanted." - family member

Related Resources

Advance Care Planning Guide

How To Talk To Your Doctor

Advance Care Planning Bookmark/Wallet Card

Related Information - learn about additional tools to help you build your advance care plan - additional vides and tools that can help you plan ahead - information and support on palliative and end of life care - conversations on care, culture, and spirituality when living with serious illness