Risks and causes

Cancer of unknown primary includes a variety of cancers. Find out why we can't be specific about the possible causes or risk factors of CUP.

Getting diagnosed

Find out what to expect when you see a GP, when you might see a specialist and which tests you may have.

Stages and types

There is no staging system for cancer of unknown primary. This is because the cancer has already spread. Tests might show the type of cell the cancer started in. 


Find out about survival for cancer of unknown primary.


Treatment depends on a number of things, including where the cancer is and your general health. Chemotherapy is the main treatment for CUP.

Living with cancer of unknown primary

Advice and support are available to help you cope with cancer of unknown primary and its treatment.

Research and clinical trials

Read about the latest research into cancer of unknown primary and see how you can take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed: 
28 May 2020
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer