Prognosis (Chance of recovery)
One of the problems with understanding CUP is that it is a neglected area of research and the statistics are limited. One should always be wary of statistics, particularly in an under-researched area such as CUP where it is difficult to determine what is “average”. Definitions of CUP also vary in different studies.
For those with a provisional diagnosis of CUP the tests will lead hopefully to the identification of a treatable condition. However, the harsh fact is that the prognosis of those with confirmed CUP is poor. But those identified with confirmed CUP should be reassured that a CUP diagnosis does not preclude a rational treatment plan.
We hope that this web site will help CUP patients and their carers to understand more of the CUP phenomenon and thus help them to work with the medical experts to make educated and informed choices about treatment.
A CUP prognosis is frightening for patient, family and carers. In different ways we learn to cope and many will live in faith and hope. Studies have shown hope to be a buffer to stress and to improve physical and mental well-being. Hope is well described by a medical practitioner, Dr Jerome Groopman:
'Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see - in the mind's eye - a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion. Clear-eyed, hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them.'
So, whilst maintaining hope is very important, it should be appropriate. Well-meaning attempts by doctors to shield end of life patients from the truth can lead to unrealistic hope and subsequent anger. Sensitive doctors, who have developed a relationship with patient and family, will help explain reality gently and appropriately.
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