Dad with terminal brain tumour


I'm 26 years old, and my dad has just been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour out of nowhere. While he is 72, he is generally super fit and healthy. It's come as a massive shock following what we thought was a slow-onset mini-stroke. There were no signs other than slight confusion here and there in the last couple of months, but we just put that down to old age. 

The doctors said he's probably not had the tumour for any more than four months, it's already 5cm big. We've been told he may only have three months left with him. 

Aside from limited verbal communication, he is fairly 'with it' - but he jumbles words up and struggles to talk with us beyond answering closed questions. The real struggle right now is that he is still trying to help around the house with chores and cooking etc, but he's not doing things in the correct order and is getting confused quite easily. We can't let him out on his own, and I know he hates the fact his freedom has been restricted.

It's hard to watch, but I know it will only get worse, so I am trying to make light of it all. However, the thing I'm really struggling to cope with is how my mom is handling the situation. She is getting frustrated with him, visibly very cross with him, she has even called him names for making mistakes or for getting frustrated with her. (His tumour is in his frontal lobe, meaning his attitude and behaviour will be out of character, so the frustration and agitation is to be expected - even aside from being frustrated by the situation as a whole.)

I don't think she understands that it's not his fault. I have tried explaining to her that she can't act like this, and she needs to show more patience than agitation. But I know it's hard for her.

I don't blame her for acting this way, I know she is scared. But I need to know how to deal with this so it doesn't make my dad's final months any more stressful. 

Please if anyone has any advice or has been through something similar, could you help?



  • Welcome to the forum Emily.

    I'm sorry to hear that your dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.

    It's completely understandable that this situation has brought about a whirlwind of emotions and adjustments.

    Firstly, it's essential to acknowledge that everyone copes differently with such difficult news, and your mum's frustrations may stem from fear, uncertainty, and the overwhelming nature of the situation. Communication is key. If possible, encourage open dialogue between your mum and dad about their feelings, concerns, and frustrations to help your mum understand that your dad's behaviour is a result of the tumour's location and progression, and it's not something he can control.

    Also, if possible, it might be a good idea to involve a professional caregiver or seeking respite care to provide your mum with breaks and alleviate some of the stress she may be feeling. This can also ensure that your dad receives the care and support he needs during this time.

    Hopefully other Cancer Chat members who have dealt with a similar experience will come along shortly with better advice but until they do please remember you're not alone, Emily, there's always someone here for when you need a chat.

    All the best to you and your family,

    Renata, Cancer Chat Moderator