Review decision date: February 2014

Review decision: 

Following consultation with stakeholders this guideline has now been placed on the static list. 

Next review date: TBC

The advice in the NICE guideline covers:

  • the treatment and care of adults with suspected or diagnosed cancer of unknown primary, including people who have been treated for cancer before.

In this guideline ‘cancer of unknown primary’ refers to a particular type of cancer, called carcinoma.

It does not specifically look at:

  • children (under 18) with cancer of unknown primary
  • adults with cancer, or likely to have cancer, that has spread (also called metastatic cancer) with a known site of primary origin
  • adults with cancer that is not carcinoma (for example lymphoma, melanoma, sarcoma).

This guideline was previously called metastatic malignant disease of unknown primary origin: Diagnosis and management of metastatic malignant disease of unknown primary origin.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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