Cancer Of Unknown Primary (CUP)


Galsworthy Road Kingston upon Thames Surrey KT2 7QB
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Cancer Of Unknown Primary (CUP)

When a person is diagnosed with cancer that has spread within the body (metastatic cancer) the primary site – the place in the body where the cancer started – is not always obvious.

When the origin of the cancer is not clearly identified after initial tests, this is described as Malignancy of Unknown Origin (MUO). For many of those diagnosed initially with this type of metastatic cancer the origin of the cancer will be found through further tests and patients will be referred on to the appropriate team. For some patients the primary cancer will remain unknown and will never be identified despite extensive further testing. These cancers are known as  a confirmed Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP).

Every effort is made to find the primary cancer through further tests and investigations. If the primary cancer is not identified the team will tailor treatments which they think will best suit your diagnosis. The Acute Oncology service will coordinate your care. There are many people involved in your care who are experts at diagnosing and managing your cancer. They are the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT includes doctors and other health professionals who specialise in different elements of your diagnosis and treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and symptom control.

The team meet each week to discuss results and to decide on appropriate individual treatment plans. This plan is recorded and explained to you at your clinic appointment.

Your keyworker (usually your clinical nurse specialist) is a member of the MDT and is always able to discuss tests, results and treatment plans further according to your needs:

Members of the Acute Oncology team are:

Elizabeth Crowther

Ileana Tucker

Hayley Williams

Helpful links:

Jos Foundation -

Macmillan -

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