Stage 4 cervical cancer with dementia

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My 75yo mother has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer and has been recommended palliative care. She has the added complication of Alzheimers Dementia which thankfully seems to have reprogrammed her pain receptors so she has very little to no pain at the moment.

My question is when do we contact MacMillan or other carers? I know McMillan (& whole care sector) is massively oversubscribed but do we need to contact to have things "in place" or leave until we are "in need"?

Background: I am her only carer, she is doubly incontinent and whilst she is, at present, reasonably mobile and able to shower with help and guidance her legs and feet are becoming very swollen so I have no idea how long this will be an option.

Any guidance would be gratefully received. The last thing we wish to be is an added burden.

Many thanks in advance

  • Hello KrnR and thank you for contacting the online community.

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother, she sounds very lucky to have you looking after her but it’s understandable you want to look at what support might be available for you both. You’re certainly not being a burden.

    When you say your mother has been ‘recommended’ palliative care, do you know if any referrals have been made? Palliative nurses (such as Macmillan nurses) specialise in pain and symptom management as well as offering emotional support and helping to co-ordinate care. It might be worth finding out if a referral has been made and if not, a health care professional like a G.P. can arrange this kind of support. There’s certainly no harm in reaching out as they will be well placed to see what support your mother needs.

    Social Services can also assess what your mum’s care needs are and also look at your needs as her carer. You can find your local department here.

    You might also find the following Macmillan publications helpful.

    Looking After Someone with Cancer

    Cancer and Dementia: A Guide for Carers.

    How do you feel you’re coping emotionally with what’s happening just now KrnR? Do you have people around you that you can speak to about how you’re feeling and how you’re managing as a carer?

    We have nurses and financial teams here on our support line but we’re also here if it helps to talk things through or if you have any other questions you’d like to ask.

    Take care.

    Alex, 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.