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Practical advice for you, to help you think about the future, from discussing care plans to writing a will.

Getting what you want from a care plan

You may wish to be looked after at home. If this is medically possible and you and your family feel this is the right option for you, many people feel much more relaxed and less frightened.

Advance care planning

There may come a point when your cancer makes you more poorly or you may just be a person who likes to plan ahead – advance care planning is a process where you explore, discuss and plan future possibilities.

There are several parts to advance care planning:

  • Advance statement: a way for you to write down and tell others your future choices and preferences. This could include anything from wanting hospice care at the end of your life, to having your nails and makeup done every day - because this is really important to you. Sometimes people also add their wishes about their funeral. Nothing is too little or too big to be shared.
  • Advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT): a document where you write down specific medical treatment that you do not want in the future. Previously often known as a ‘living will’, it must be signed and witnessed, and is considered to be a legal document to ensure your wishes are upheld.
  • Do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation: – this is a specific aspect of ADRT, where you and the doctor discuss, and you decide, that you do not want your heart to be restarted if it should stop. This can be a difficult decision to make but some people feel they do not want this medical treatment. You may wish to initiate this discussion, or sometimes a doctor or nurse may bring it up with you.
  • Lasting power of attorney (welfare or property and affairs): – where you choose to give someone else legal authority (power of attorney) to make decisions on your behalf, if a time comes when you are unable to do so yourself.

Making or updating a will

This is something that everyone should do, whether or not they have a terminal illness, but many people never get round to it.

Making a will ensures your assets and belongings go to those who you feel should benefit most. Solicitors can advise on making or amending a will. It is a relatively simple process. 

Thinking about a funeral

You have an idea of what you want – or what you definitely don’t want for your funeral.

Your family, or partner, may feel relieved to talk things through and be able to carry out your wishes. Other families might find this difficult and avoid it. If this is the case, you may need to write things down.

How much you specify is up to you. It might be anything from the type of funeral, to every last detail – music, decorations, and even a message for those who attend. You can also do a ‘letter of wishes’ which is addressed to your executors, giving guidance, listing your assets, giving general information, detailing funeral arrangements and explaining your will.

Find out more

Looking-after-meThis content is primarily taken from our guide, Looking after me

Our expert guide aims to help you get the most from every day, while living with life limiting ovarian cancer. It offers insights into looking after yourself, understanding symptoms you may have, your relationships with others, and more.



Target Ovarian Cancer is an accredited member of the Information Standard Scheme. The information on this page has been developed following the schemes core principles.


Last reviewed: January 2015
Next review: Currently under review