Cancer of unknown primary/malignancy of unknown origin

Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) means that cancer spread has been found in your body (secondary cancer), but your doctors can't find where cancer started (primary cancer).

This is initially known as a malignancy of unknown origin (MUO). If further tests still do not reveal the primary cancer, it will be diagnosed as a confirmed cancer of unknown primary (CUP).

Even if your doctors can’t be sure of the primary cancer, they might be able to suggest the most likely part of the body where the cancer started. This will help them to plan your treatment.

People are often referred to our teams/clinics by their GP. Once under our care, you'll be assessed by specialist staff who will then talk to you about your treatment options to help ease your symptoms. They can also tell you what tests or scans you might need to investigate the problem further.

Knowing where your cancer started helps doctors to decide the best types of treatment to use for your secondary cancer.  With cancer of unknown primary, it can be difficult to know what the best treatment might be.  However, treatment can be offered to help control any symptoms you might have.

Contact us

Northern Services

North Devon District Hospital 

Main switchboard on 01271 322577

 

Eastern Services

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Main switchboard on 01392 411611

Where will I be seen?

Northern Services

North Devon District Hospital 

North Devon District Hospital
Raleigh Park
Barnstaple
Devon
EX31 4JB

 

Eastern services

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford)
Barrack Road
Exeter
EX2 5DW

 

Meet our team

Consultant oncologists:

  • Dr Anne McCormack
  • Dr Chris Hamilton

Clinical Nurse Specialists:

  • Colette Newcombe
  • Sally Harris
  • Katie Lambe
  • Hayley Reed

Services and treatments

The  Macmillan website explains more about the different types of treatments offered.

You can also find out more about the different types of treatment by visiting the NHS website. 

This includes:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Hormone treatment
  • Targeted therapy

Supporting you

Having cancer can have an impact on every aspect of your life and on those around you. We understand that this is a difficult and often frightening time for you and your loved ones, which is why we have put together a wide range of information to help you live with and beyond cancer.

Some of these services are available locally, whilst others cover Devon and/or the South West Peninsula as a whole. 

Find out more

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

Find out more

Useful videos

We have a wide range of videos which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

Find out more

Last updated: November 14, 2022.

Cookies

Our site uses cookies to help give you a better experience. By continuing to use it you consent to the use of cookies as set out in our privacy policy.