Slurred speech

My dad 75 has just been diagnosed with primary liver cancer and has 2 modules on his lungs. They suggest not to bother with treatment, this was 2 weeks ago. He was fine and then in the last few days he has gone yellow and his speech is slurring and I am (and others) are struggling to understand him. The oncology nurse says it’s his bilirubin and he’s having blood tests but she wasn’t sure about the speech. I’m assuming it’s connected to the cancer????

  • Hi ,


    Thank you for getting in touch.  What a few weeks you have had, it must be such a tough time for you all.


    When anyone, regardless of the situation, mentions symptoms such as slurred speech, this raises alarm bells for us.  This could be caused by many different reasons.  It’s important that your Dad gets checked out tonight by a doctor.  It is important that this is acted on in an urgent manner as we can’t say what is causing this new and worsening symptom.  Doctors at A&E can start running tests to see why this is happening to your Dad.


    I don’t mean to scare you, but I just want to make you aware that your Dad must attend A&E (I know that no one wants to go there, especially at this time of year), it’s the safest option for your Dad.  It will allow Doctors to examine him and get to the bottom of these concerning symptoms.  

    Take care,

    Eileen, Macmillan Information Nurse

  • Thank you for the message, I had mentioned this to the oncology specialist nurse this afternoon who said to mention it to the Drs in the morning as he is going for a biopsy on his liver, although they tried last week and couldnt do it. My other issue is my dad is stubborn and in denial & would t go to A&E. I’m an only child and my mum died a few years ago. I also have 3 children youngest is 4. So it’s not that I don’t care enough to take him to A&E he won’t go so I have to hope he is ok until we get to the hospital at 8am.

  • Hi ,

    Thanks for getting back in touch with us and welcome to our Online Community.

    I hope that your dad is okay this morning. It’s important that you talk to the doctors this morning about his slurred speech so that it can investigated.

    Hearing the news that your dad has cancer can be overwhelming. We don’t think you don’t care for your dad at all. It can be difficult knowing what to do for the best when you’re watching someone you love have symptoms that you’re concerned about. No doubt having 3 young children to look after will be adding to the stress that you’re feeling.

    Some people can go into denial when they have been diagnosed with cancer, this can make it easier for them to cope with what is happening. But it can make it hard for those that are looking after them to talk with them about their cancer. We have these tips that you can look at to help you deal with your dad’s reaction to his cancer.

    If your dad has a specialist nurse, you can contact them to talk about the difficulties that you’re having with him. Often when someone has cancer they find it difficult to talk to their families about how they are feeling, but they will accept support if a healthcare professional suggests that there are people who can help.

    You can also talk to his GP and although they may not be able to discuss his medical situation with you, they can listen to your concerns. They too may also be able to talk to your dad about the importance of getting help if he becomes unwell. They can also encourage him to accept support from other health and social care professionals.

    Looking after someone can be tough emotionally, so it’s important that you get the support and are able to look after yourself too. I respect that this can be easier said than done, but you’re not superwomen and you do need to try and take some time for YOU. Even if it’s only for a half an hour at the end of the day sometimes it can be just enough to recharge your batteries, so you can keep doing what you’re doing so well.

    It can be helpful for you to talk to your GP about what you’re going through so that you can get support too.

    There are many ways that we can offer you support. I see that you’ve already joined our supportive liver cancer group, we also have a family and friends and carers group that you can join too.

    You can give our Support Line a call on 0808-808-0000. Our lines are open every day from 8am till 8pm.

    Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch with us and let us know how your dad gets on.

    Best wishes and take care.

    Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.

    Ellen-Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse