All these sections have been taken from the MACMILLAN website:

Most of this information relates to the United Kingdom but there will be more information on what happens in France as it is gathered.

Coping with advanced cancer

This section has been written to help people who have been told their cancer has spread or come back. It is also for your relatives and friends. It outlines common concerns and problems and advises on how to cope with them. You may have been told it is not possible to cure your cancer. No-one can predict for certain what will be the outcome of any persons illness. It may be possible, although it is rare, for an advanced cancer to be cured. Treatment can be given which will help to control the cancer and prolong life, perhaps for a number of years. In other cases it may not be possible to treat the cancer itself. However, treatment can be given to control symptoms, for example pain.

These sections discuss the concerns that people with advanced cancer can often have. There is discussion about the many varied emotional issues and feelings that you may face at this time. There is also information about practical concerns, such as the support that may be available to you. We hope that this information will help you to be able to live with your cancer in the way that is best for you. Not all the information will apply to you, and you may find the information includes things that do not affect you or that you do not want to read about. Throughout this section you will find quotations from people who have advanced cancer. MACMILLAN wishes to thank all those people who have shared their feelings and experiences with us.

Caring for someone with advanced cancer
This information has been written for anyone who is caring for a person who is very ill with advanced cancer. The partner, relative or friend you are looking after may have been told his or her cancer has spread or come back, or perhaps that the cancer cannot be cured. You may still be trying to come to terms with this, longing to show how much you care and trying to plan how best to look after them and make them comfortable. You may be worried that you won't have the physical or emotional strength to cope. You may not know where to turn for the practical help which could make life at home easier. You may be feeling overwhelmed by a number of strong emotions at a time when you feel you need to be clear-headed. You may be fearful of what may happen. You may also meet practical difficulties in getting the support you need.

Everyone's situation is different, and everyone has different ways of coping. Some people find they need to talk through their feelings and fears before they can begin to make plans and take decisions on practical matters. Others manage better by beginning with the practical things.

Feelings and how to cope with them

The value of talking
`It's taken us a long time to get there but nowadays we can really talk about what's going to happen and how we feel about it. Sometimes we don't need to say anything. We can just sit there together holding hands. It's very comforting somehow.' 

Many carers find looking after someone who is important to them very rewarding and fulfilling. Some people find that coming to terms with advanced cancer together brings them closer to each other than ever before. You may find that you are able really to talk to each other for the first time. Sharing your feelings openly and honestly will help support you both through your anxieties, sadness, fear and uncertainty.

Many people, however, find it very difficult to be open together in this way, especially when they are faced with a new and stressful situation. Some carers are uncomfortable about discussing their own feelings with the person with cancer because they think that they will be a burden. Others can't bear to talk about it because they don't think they'll be able to console their friend or loved one or because they're worried about breaking down and crying in front of them. Some people are simply not used to talking with each other about important things like this.

There are no right or wrong ways of communicating and often just being there, perhaps giving a hug or holding hands, is enough to tell someone that you care. Be prepared for them to talk about their illness if they want to. Often they won't expect you to provide answers but just to listen and understand so they don't feel so alone. The book "I don't know what to say" by Robert Buckman looks at how to help and support someone who is dying.

If you both find it hard to talk about your feelings, it may be easier to bring a third person to help you. This could be a trusted friend, a religious leader, a counsellor or one of the health professionals you have got to know and trust.
You may also find it helpful to suggest to the person you are caring for that they talk to someone else -- such as a counsellor -- about their feelings. They may have powerful, sometimes overwhelming emotions, and may need help to talk about them and find ways of coping.

Looking after someone full-time is not always easy or satisfying. Many carers lie awake at night worrying about what's going to happen in the future and how they are going to cope. Some people feel frustrated or overburdened because the person they are caring for can no longer share responsibility with them for running a home or looking after a family. Nearly everyone feels angry and resentful at some point that this has had to happen. Worst of all is feeling guilty about having these kinds of emotions -- that in some way, if you have negative feelings like these, it means that you don't love the person you are caring for enough, or that you are a selfish person. On top of all this, most carers are very tired and short of sleep.

The main thing to remember is that these kinds of feelings are normal. You are probably going through one of the most stressful periods of your life and you are not going to be able to control your emotions 24 hours a day, however hard you try. What you can do, however, is to try to accept that it's all right to have these feelings and begin to learn to cope with them. It's not easy, but it is important to try, both for your own sake and for the sake of the person you are looking after. And it's also OK to ask for help in dealing with these emotions, whether from your family and friends, or from a counsellor or one of the health professionals you are in contact with.