If you are a relative or friend

It can be hard for you if someone close to you is coping with changes after treatment. We're here for you.

Caring for or supporting someone going through treatment for a brain tumour can be demanding. Although many people make a good recovery, it can take time for the brain to recover. Some people may have permanent physical changes or changes to their personality. This can be stressful for everyone involved.

Ask for support from other family members and friends who are willing to commit to helping you. Take time off regularly to look after your own health.

One of the hardest things to cope with can be seeing personality changes in someone you love.

Knowing these changes are caused by the tumour or treatments can help you to accept that certain behaviours are not intentional. Always let your relative or friend’s specialist doctor or nurse know about personality changes especially those that are challenging. They can talk this over with you both and give advice and support. They may arrange a referral to a neuropsychologist for an assessment.

They can suggest therapies, drugs or strategies that can help.

Focusing on finding ways to cope rather than changing the behaviour can be helpful. Some possible suggestions are:

  • Keep to a simple routine and do things the same way and same time each day to avoid anxiety.
  • Check for anything that makes personality changes worse, for example tiredness or after taking certain drugs.
  • Contact the hospital straight away if there are sudden or dramatic changes in behaviour.

Partners, relatives and friends can help by listening carefully to what the person with cancer wants to say. It may be best not to rush into talking about the illness. Often it’s enough just to listen and let the person with cancer talk when they are ready.

Our booklet Lost for words – how to talk to someone with cancer has more suggestions if you have a friend or relative with cancer.

You may find some of the courses on our Learn Zone website helpful. There are courses to help with listening and talking, to help friends and family support their loved ones affected by cancer. Visit macmillan.org.uk/learnzone to find out more.

If you’re looking after a family member or friend with cancer, you may find our booklet Looking after someone with cancer helpful. It’s based on carers' experiences and has lots of practical tips and information.

We have more information about supporting someone with cancer.

Back to After treatment

Coping with changes

If the tumour or treatment causes changes to your mood, thinking or memory you can get help with this.