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  • Practical ways to help someone newly diagnosed?



    3 replies

    Hello all,

    I've just joined today. A good friend of mine has very recently been diagnosed with an aggressive high grade malignant brain tumour.

    She is as yet unaware of the seriousness of her condition as her husband can't bring himself to tell her yet.

    It has all happened very, very quickly from her being absolutely fine last month to now the last few days it looking like she may not have very long to live.

    Her husband is struggling in many ways and he has shared updates with me that he hasn't even with family (I guess I was just in the right place at the right time) yet but I feel somewhat helpless and want to know if there are any more practical ways that I can help both my friend and her husband to cope during this horrific time?

    Tomorrow she has her first follow up with an oncologist after being diagnosed via MRI in A&E about 3 weeks ago.

    The whole process has atrocious in terms of how the hospitals involved have handled it and her husband has had to push, making phone calls and sending emails every step of the way to even get this appointment tomorrow - god only knows how long it would have been if he hadn't persisted.

    In fact he only found out the serious nature of her tumour last Friday when he received a letter to his GP that he's been copied on - what a way to find out your wife is terminally ill - they should have been seen by a consultant before that but the hospital had lost her MRI and hadn't bothered to tell them.

    I realise this is a very rambly, garbled post but I'm struggling myself with this news, it's hit me like a bombshell and I feel very angry towards the NHS for the way they've completely neglected my friend.

    Any practical advice on how to deal with this and support them would be deeply appreciated.


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  • MarkWilkin

    I'm very sorry that the way this has been handled has been so fraught and I hope that things will get clearer after today.

    The main thing I'd suggest is making sure your friend and her husband get support. Their GP is best person to talk directly to about this as they are able to make an urgent referral to the local palliative care team or clinical nurse specialist. They're also the person who can refer them to Marie Curie for either help from our nursing services or to hospice care.

    Being a carer can be a big challenge, so I'd also have a read of our help on support for carers as that might give you some ideas on how to help. Also our page on Being there for someone with a terminal illness should be useful.

    Also if it would be helpful to talk to someone one to one our Support Line on 0800 090 2309 is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.

    Hope that helps

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  • Tiny

    • Hi my partners brother has recently been diagnosed with kidney cancer,he's been given 6months.his family are relying a lot on my partner.,he is stressed out.he tried Macmillan.They told him to go to his brothers GP,for a referal for counselling.?.
    • I've read above support line,do you think he should give them a try???.
    • Want to help my partner,feeling useless at mo!

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  • Support

    Hi Tiny,

    I am sorry to read about your partner’s brother .Being given a terminal diagnosis can be very overwhelming and we have a section on the website which gives information on practical matters and coping with the change. It can be found here:

    You and your partner may also find it helpful to read through the sections above and also ; this looks at how to support somebody else. We are not trained counsellors on the support line but we can provide a listening ear and support him (and the family) through his journey( T.0800 090 2309).



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