Metastatic at diagnosis

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Hi,  my mums just been diagnosed with breast cancer which is also in 3 lymph nodes and some nodules in the lungs...she's is really struggling to accept it as she hasn't any side effects apart from finding the initial lump.  Heading to see the oncologist in the next week and she's made her mind up before she's had any information that she'll be saying no to treatment and there's no point. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to support her to actually take it in and listen to the options.  Thanks

  • Hello  

    Thank you for contacting us on the Support Line.

    I’m sorry to hear that Mum has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and is struggling to accept the news. It can be really hard for many people to accept and process a diagnosis, particularly when not experiencing any symptoms or side effects. I can hear how worrying it’s feeling for you hearing Mum’s plans to say no to treatment. I’m really glad you got in touch.

    Has Mum been able to say why she feels she wants to say no to treatment? You say she feels there’s no point? It’s completely someone’s choice as to whether they go forward with treatment or not, however it feels important to try and understand what ‘no point’ means for Mum. For example, some people want to refuse treatments based on worries or fears over what treatment may be like or how successful it would be. With this in mind, it’s important Mum has information and support to make the decision best for her. It’s important her cancer team (such as the Oncologist or Clinical Nurses Specialist) know she is feeling this way and struggling to accept the news. It would be a shame for her to be refusing treatment based on any concerns that aren’t actually applicable to her individual situation.

    With you saying this decision has been made before she’s had any information Cee123, it sounds like Mum’s not yet had opportunity to ask any questions or talk treatment through? If this would be helpful before seeing the Oncologist next week Mum, or yourself, would be welcome to contact us on the Support Line and speak to our Cancer Information Nurses who are available to support with any general medical questions about cancer- including treatment. Although our Information Nurses don’t have access to medical records (as we are separate to the hospital), from the information you share with them about what has been mentioned so far, they will support you as best they can with guidance and information. They are available 8am-8pm, 7 days a week on: 0808 808 00 00 or via web chat.

    With this being such recent news, and sounding worrying for you Cee123, it feels important to ask, do you have plenty of support around you just now? Please know we are also here on the Support Line every day as a place you can contact to access emotional support and a space to talk things through. We don’t want you feeling you have to hold this worry on your own. Do keep in touch as much as you need.

    We also have our booklet, Talking with Someone Who Has Cancer if it would feel helpful to have guidance on broaching conversations, offering support and perhaps offering to go to hospital to help at the appointment if this would be possible.

    You may too wish to join our Family and Friend’s Forum Cee123 if talking to others who are coping with a similar experience would feel helpful.

    I hope the information talked through today feels a  helpful place to start. But please do just come back through if you have any questions or need more support via our team on the Community.

    Take care,


    Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days
    a week, 8am-8pm) or by email