Cancer has been considered a life-threatening disease and coping patterns could have a string impact the physical and psychological health of patients and their family. The purpose of this study was to identify the change of coping patterns according to the phases of illness in the patients with cancer and their family caregivers and to compare the coping patterns of patients with those of their caregivers. The phases of illness consisted of 1st(initial) stage, 2nd(metastatic or recurred) stage and 3rd(terminal) stage based on literature. The coping methods were measured using the modified Ways of Coping Questionnaire by Lazarus and Folkman(1984). Seventy-nine patients(35 in stage 1,31 in stage 2, and 13 in stage 3) and ninety-two caregivers(38 in stage 1,30 in stage 2 and 24) agreed to participate from two general hospitals in Seoul and Choongnam. No significant changes were found in the coping patterns according to the phases of illness in both groups. Patients in stage 2 and caregivers in stages 2 and 3 problem-focused coping methods were significantly used more than emotion-focused coping methods. Patients in stage 1 significantly used two coping strategies that were cognitive reconstruction and emotion expression more than caregivers. Patents in stage 2 significantly used emotion-focused coping methods including minimizing threat, blame, and emotion expression excepting wishful thinking more than caregivers. We need more research to identify the relationship between the coping methods and their efficiencies through long-term observation and attempt to develop the nursing interventions that could have an improvement on positive coping methods and provide guidance on the problems the patients experience.