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    Hi, my Mum has been on a long battle with melanoma (3 years) and she also has a lung cancer. She’s had immune therapy, which caused all her melanoma tumours to shrink and halved her lung cancer. But before we’d even had time to celebrate, it mutated and came back. We have now been told, short of a miracle, she had weeks left to live. Mum is in denial and I find myself going in and out of denial. I find the reality overwhelming, and I know that’s how Mum feels. I want to take care of her, but she sees this as a sign that all is not well and panics at any suggestion of help. She’s feeling sick quite a lot and is out of breath, but she’s still managing to get out and about she doesn’t give in to illness, never has done and battles on. I’ve started to cook a few evening meals for her as she has no appetite, but eats what I cook. My brother thinks it is too soon to offer more support, but my mums bst friend thinks I should move in! My mum won’t ask or admit she needs help. Any suggestions?

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  • Support

    Hello Summer68


    I’m sorry to read about your mum’s diagnosis. Denial can be a common reaction to experiencing a major change in life and we often hear on the support line that some people try to avoid thinking about what they’ve been told, or act as though nothing’s wrong. Whilst this can be normal there are different levels of denial, some can be useful and others less so. We have some information about caring for someone in denial that may be helpful to read by clicking here:


    When it comes to support, there are a number of avenues that you can go down depending on what stage you and mums medical team feel that mum is at. If mum has day to day care needs such as getting washed and dressed then you can refer mum to social services to have a care needs assessment if you feel this is appropriate. There is no charge for a care needs assessment and you can find some more in-depth information here:


    Macmillan has a very useful in your area search function on their website that can be accessed here: This tool enables you to easily search for any emotional or practical support available within your local area when someone has a cancer diagnosis by simply putting in their post code. There may also be support groups available through Macmillan to help you cope emotionally and deal with your own denial too.


    Whilst you mention that mum won’t ask or admit she needs help, it can be reassuring to know that there are services out there that could provide you with the additional support you both need when the time comes. Here at Marie Curie, our nurses care for people with all terminal illnesses towards the end of their lives. They generally spend several hours at a time in patients’ homes providing care and support often overnight. Perhaps chatting to mums GP/District nurse would be the necessary approach to take in order for you to best prepare for the future. When it is appropriate, either of these two professionals can refer mum to our nursing service if we are commissioned within the local area by calling the medical professional referral line on 0845 056 7899.


    If you ever need to talk to someone, here on the support line we are here to listen. We aren’t trained counsellors on this line however we are happy to provide you with a listening ear. You are able to reach us by calling Freephone 0800 090 2309 or by contacting us via our web chat:


    Take Care,


    Marie Curie Support Line


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