When Cancer Can't Be Cured
There is often uncertainty around what incurable cancer actually means, so we created five themes to
highlight some of the complexities that can arise after receiving an incurable cancer diagnosis
and to help explain the challenges our mums, in this situation, can face.
Terminal, incurable, palliative, and secondary are all terms that we tend to associate with an immediate end to life. It’s understandable to think this, but these words relate to living with cancer that cannot be cured, so what do they really mean?
Here are some useful TIPS to help understand what these terms ultimately mean for the mums we support. Raising awareness can help us find the right words to support someone close to us.
Mums diagnosed with incurable cancer are balancing living with cancer, alongside the fear of cancer, and are experiencing loss from cancer. Our mums can grieve for the life and plans they once had, and are working to focus on the life they can have. We’re here to support mums who are experiencing these feelings.
Understanding that these feelings and emotions can be difficult to manage alongside everyday life, can help us to provide the right emotional support, and help in balancing the day-to-day feelings of someone close to us.
Imagine heading towards a new destination, but not quite knowing how or when you will get there? This is how our mums can feel when cancer can’t be cured. This journey can cause high levels of anxiety and worry for our mums. So, this can be a difficult time whilst they try to navigate and accept the changes to their future plans. Mums can also feel that their choices and freedoms are becoming smaller. We’re here to support mums who are experiencing these feelings.
Understanding that the loss of future plans is painful and can be hard to accept, will help us to support the people we love in adjusting to a different future from the one they had planned.
When a mum is diagnosed with incurable cancer she will often experience grief caused by the loss of any future family plans and worries about what will happen if they are not around. They may also feel guilty and anxious that they are unable to protect their little ones from what lies ahead. These are worrying, but yet they are also very precious times for many of our mums. Memories and feelings are becoming so much more important to create or make.
Understanding what our mums are experiencing with their children is important in supporting them. We’d like our mums to know… that no matter what, you are doing an amazing job every day!
A diagnosis of incurable cancer is difficult enough, so our mums are often looking for some normality, and may get comfort from the things they can relate to or that are familiar to them. Although life may be different, mum would still like to be herself and talk about things as she did. It’s good to remember that she is still the same person, with all the same needs as you.
Understanding how our mums are feeling about themselves and the other people in their lives is important in supporting them. Cancer does not define who they are, it just brings a very different set of life challenges to face.
This week we’ve looked at the impact on our mums when cancer can’t be cured. Our star points can remind us how to support those closest to us by:
Encouraging a better understanding of what incurable cancer means.
Helping to balance the difficult emotions mums may experience.
Supporting the losses, adjustments, and changes to life plans.
Reminding ourselves that what we do everyday matters.
Nurture our relationships by talking and connecting.
Together…we can help to support mums when cancer cannot be cured.