Charlotte - how can I help my 15 y/o son? He has had treatment for a brain tumour, given the all clear but struggling since returning to school

Hi, I’m Charlotte, I’m here to look for anyone in a similar position.

my son Dan was diagnosed in December 22 with a brain tumour on his brain, completed chemotherapy and proton beam radiotherapy, has had a scan and is clear, this has been since August 2023, however he is still really struggling, he’s still not back at school full time, he has completely lost all confidence in himself, I’m lucky to get him in school for 5 hours a week, more often than not I’m called to go pick him up for one reason or another. He says he gets really bad headaches. I’ve mentioned this to all relevant healthcare professionals, and checks and scans are been done, however I believe that these are exaggerated, I have told his specialists this. I’ve requested many times for counselling/therapy but I’m told they can’t do anything without his permission, as he’s 15 it has to come from him and he is outright refusing. I just wondered if anyone has experienced similar and could give me some pointers as to what I can do or how I can help him? Thanks 

  • Hello Charlotte

    I'm sorry to hear about Dan's diagnosis and all that he's been through over the past 18 months. Undoubtedly this will have been a difficult time for you all and it's understandable that Dan is struggling now that treatment has finished. 

    Many people find "returning to normal life" difficult after treatment has stopped. As a teenager who has had much to deal with over the past few years, I would imagine that what you've described isn't uncommon. And of course, as his Mum you want to try and support him in every way possible to move forward and I can imagine that it's frustrating that you've not been able to secure some support for him. 

    I'd suggest getting in touch with The Brain Tumour Charity. As a specialist cancer charity, you may be able to connect with other parents who are going through similar experiences. Whilst Dan isn't open to counselling support do you think he may be open to connecting online with other teenagers and young people who have been diagnosed with cancer? This is a service that Teenage Cancer Trust offers and maybe a way to open the door to having further conversations and support. 

    If you think it would help to talk with one of our nurses you're very welcome to give them a call Charlotte. I know they will be happy to listen and offer any advice and support they can. They're available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0808 800 4040. 

    I do hope that as time goes on, with support from you and the health professionals, Dan is able to gain more self-confidence and find his way back to a healthy and happy life. 

    Sending you both my best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator