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Should I tell someone with advanced dementia about possible cancer?

CaregiverUpsetrichard-jaimes-556328-unsplashDear Carol: My mom, 83, is in a memory unit because she has advanced Lewy body dementia (LBD). While a nurse was bathing mom she noticed a breast lump. My logical mind tells me that considering Mom’s cognitive state, as well as her age, this lump is best ignored since she has no pain. I’ve talked with her neurologist and he said that I could consult an oncologist but that he’d suggest not telling Mom since she may be stressed by the news when there’s a good possibility that this isn’t even cancer. This doctor and her care nurses all feel that Mom couldn't tolerate testing let alone surgery and treatment. I agree, yet I can’t let go of the fact that I’m keeping something from her. Should I tell her and explain the options even though her ability to make sound decisions based on fact is basically non-existent. Maybe a word from you will help me feel better. – HF

Read the full column on Inforum about making tough decisions about the health of our loved one living with dementia:

MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center

Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol  

Photo credit: Richard Jaimes: Unsplash

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