Terminal Mum

New Contributor

Terminal Mum

Hi everyone. I am a newbie here and am looking for some advise. My mum who is 79 has lung cancer, breast cancer, aortic stenosis and severe emphysema. She weighs 42kg and due to all her health issues as well as her weight is unable to have any surgeries, chemo or radiation. I had a visit with her doctor who has told me she is terminal and may have 6 months. My question is, do I tell her she may only have 6 months??? I feel deep down she may know. My brother and I think we shouldn’t tell her as we feel it may add more stress which she does not need. Very interested to hear what other people think. 

Super Contributor

Re: Terminal Mum


I'm sorry to hear about your Mum. What a difficult situation.

Not knowing your Mum at all or knowing too much about your situation.

If I was in the situation of maybe having only 6 months, I, personally, would like to know.


I don't think that there is a right or wrong choice to make here.

I'm assuming you have medical power of attorney?

If you don't, I guess that would make any decisions harder to make if she doesn't know?

Do you know if her doctor has discussed the situation with her?


Do you think that it would be important to her to know?


Sorry, I haven't exactly helped answer your question. I've just asked you more.


Super Contributor

Re: Terminal Mum

Hi @Smiley-

I would definitely tell her. Yes, she would probably know within herself, but I know I would absolutely hate for my children to keep it from me.
Does she have an up-to-date will? Are all her finances etc, in order? There maybe things that she wants to do/say before for she dies, & if she's under false hope of having a longer time to live, she may not have the opportunity to do them.
While death may be a difficult topic to talk about, it is a necessary one.  Your Mum would also be given the opportunity to have a say in the funeral arrangements. 


Whatever you decide to do, tread gently. You have my best wishes.


New Contributor

Re: Terminal Mum

Thanks for your advice. Yes all her affairs are in order. I have decided to talk to her GP and discuss the best way to deal with this. I’m also wondering if her GP has told her as her last appointment was at mums house and I could not make the appointment due to work. 

New Contributor

Re: Terminal Mum

Hi. Yes I have medical power of attorney but she is still capable of making decisions. I have had a meeting with her doctor on my own who told me she has about 6 months. I didn’t even think to ask the doctor whether my mum knew, as I was very upset and mums last appointment with the doctor I was not with her. If she knows, I’m guessing she may not want to discuss it as she would have told me by now.
I guess this is something I could ask the doctor and the decision may be taken out of my hands.

Post new topic
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.