Your feelings when you're looking after someone with cancer

Supporting someone who is having treatment for a brain tumour can be a challenge. Many people make a good recovery but it can take time for the brain to heal. Some people have permanent physical changes or changes to how they think or behave.

This can be stressful for everyone involved. It can be especially difficult if you are the main carer. Ask for support from other family members and friends who are willing to commit to helping you. Remember to take time off regularly to look after your own physical and emotional health.

One of the hardest things to cope with is personality changes in someone you love. Sometimes if can help to remember that these changes are caused by the tumour or treatments. They are not intentional. Always let the specialist doctor or nurse know about any changes and especially ones that are difficult. They can give both of you advice and support. They may arrange extra support from other specialists such as a neuropsychologist or occupational therapist.

You might find it helpful to focus on coping with the behaviour rather than trying to change it:

  • Keep to a simple routine and do things the same way and same time each day.
  • Let the doctor or nurse know if anything makes the behaviour worse. For example, tiredness or after taking certain drugs.
  • Contact the hospital straight away if there are sudden or dramatic changes in behaviour.

Support for partners, relatives and friends

You may think that you’re the last person who should need help. But if you’re a partner, relative or friend of someone affected by a brain tumour you may need information and support too.

Our online community has groups run by and for carers. This can be a good way to share experiences and ask questions.

Or you may find some of the courses for carers on our Learn Zone website helpful.

We have more information about talking with someone who has cancer and coping when someone close to you has cancer.

We also have more information for carers, including practical tips and information.

And if you need to talk, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

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