How to cope with a parents cancer diagnosis

It was the week before Christmas in December 2016 when my Dad told me he had Cancer of the left kidney. I remember he wouldn’t even say the word, he just called it the ‘big C.’ I went into a state of shock. I worked in a hospital at the time which made me that even bit more aware of what could potentially be coming next for him. My parents are divorced but on good terms. When I told my mum, her face just fell. It was at that moment that I decided to put a brave face on and be their for my younger sister and everyone else.

My dad was booked in for an operation early January. They decided to remove the whole of the kidney, to air on the side of caution. He underwent keyhole surgery and all went well. The surgeon was super positive that he had removed all of the tumour and my dad would make a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, he was taking a little bit longer to recover, so they ran a few tests and turns out he was allergic to the morphine! Once he got over that, he made a speedy recovery and was out of hospital within days.

A couple of weeks later, we got the news that some of the tumour had already spread to some of the veins just around the kidney. Unfortunately, it turned out that the tumour on the kidney was protruding so it had spread between the time of my dads first scan and the operation. I was at work when I got told and I just broke down. This was the moment that I had to seriously consider that my dad wouldn’t make it.

From then on he had scans every 3 months to check the spreading of the cancer. So far, it hasn’t moved! My dad gave up his career, took early retirement and has just moved back to France (he’s French!). So, as a child, how on earth do we cope with our parents cancer diagnosis? Well…

  • Do NOT google anything about the cancer. Until you have more information about what is happening with their situation, it is not worth it…trust me! I would say, head to a website like Macmillan, which is filled with lots of help for the relatives of cancer patients.
  • Talk to people. Initially, that will be the last thing you want to do, but it really does help. Luckily I had a very supportive boyfriend, and probably for the 2 weeks after my dads diagnosis, I would just cry down the phone to him. Cry, talk, be angry, be whatever you need to be, just don’t hold it in.
  • Acceptance. The first hurdle is accepting the diagnosis they have been given. You can’t change anything at that moment. Once you have accepted they have Cancer, taking the next step and looking ahead will be much easier.
  • Lastly but most importantly, POSITIVITY. No matter what the statistics are for that form of cancer (my dads aren’t great for survival) they are not a guarantee. Every human is different and will react differently to medication. Stay positive, this will also help your parent be as positive as possible.


I really don’t know if this will help, but if it does, then I am over the moon. If you want to chat about anything in this blog post, then comment on there or head over to one of my social medias.

Sending all the love and positivity,



P.S In October I am walking from West Sussex to Hampshire to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you would like to donate, here is my link Marie-Clare’s March for Cancer

5 thoughts on “How to cope with a parents cancer diagnosis

  1. I’m so sorry to hear that Marie-Clare, if you ever need to chat, please feel free to message me. Your post has actually helped put me at ease slightly also – my dad is currently being tested for skin cancer and you just can’t help wanting to Google everything. Sending lots of love your way! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful read, so heartfelt and honest. Sending you loads of love & im so sorry to hear about your dad! 💗 hoping he makes a full recovery and enjoys his life in France! I’ll pop you a follow now, would love to get one back, I’m a newbie to this whole blogging thing xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry to hear that he has cancer, but am relieved to hear that it hasn’t been spreading at all.

    I have been lucky enough to have cancer-free parents thus far (and hopefully forever) – but have had to cope with cancer of close relatives. My one piece of advice, is to follow their lead – if they aren’t in the mood to talk about it, don’t push. Just spend lots of time together and you’re right, stay positive! There are so many cancer survivors out there now.

    Best to you and your family


    Liked by 1 person

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