Hypercalcaemia is common in patients with advanced cancer. If detected, it usually responds to palliative treatment and patients' distressing symptoms will improve markedly. However, if left untreated hypercalcaemia is potentially fatal. It can be difficult to detect as its symptoms can also be attributed to other common aspects of advanced malignancy. It is therefore essential that nurses are aware of the underlying physiology and can identify which patients are at risk of becoming hypercalcaemic. Hypercalcaemia often recurs and can become increasingly difficult to treat. Such refractory hypercalcaemia requires sensitive and considered management with advance care planning, particularly as difficult treatment dilemmas may arise if and when malignancy advances.
- Advance care planning