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Recent years have seen increased attention given to examining the phenomenon of hope in patients with metastatic cancer One of the results of this activity has been a greater appreciation of the significance of hope for the dying patient However, there are many questions about the experience of hope and its impact on the lives of patients with cancer which remain to be answered This paper discusses how hope is currently conceptualized in the nursing literature, and considers the implications that this conceptualization has for how we care for cancer patients Some alternative ways of looking at the experience and the impact of hope are also discussed