• 3 months ago

    Schizophrenia and Cancer

    Hello. My mother is 60 and has struggled with severe paranoid schizophrenia her entire life (her father also had it). She has taken numerous medications and seems to follow an arc where every couple of years (the span of time in between gets shorter and shorter of onset) she is grasped by her condition, being aggressive, argumentative, and all around “lost.” This usually follows with her spending months in the hospital until medication can be readjusted to control the symptoms again. Earlier this year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy, and multiple rounds of chemo and her symptoms are now breaking through again. We expect the stress of her diagnosis and treatment, both emotionally and physical, contributed. Unfortunately, this onset also came with her her refusal to continue cancer treatment. My father and I really don’t know what to do or what our options are. She must continue her treatments or her cancer is likely to grip her and kill her.


  • 3 months ago

    RE: Schizophrenia and Cancer

    Hi, I'm really sorry! I can only imagine how hard this must be for your mother, as well as all of her loved ones!

    Has your mom said why she is refusing cancer treatment? I mean, do you think it's primary symptomatic of her mental illness? Or, could it be that since she has already gone through an initial round of treatment, so the thought of having to do more is unbearable to her? Do you think she's refusing treatment because of a secret (or not) wish to die?

    If she has a Psychiatrist, have you gone with your mom to see him/her specifically to discuss this in hopes that maybe he/she would be able to convince her to complete the treatment? She may have specific fears, concerns - real or imagined - that she needs someone to help her to see clearly. I just think it could be helpful for your mom to see either her mental health doctor or a therapist to help her walk through what's going on with her.

    Ultimately, you can't force her to have treatment if she doesn't want it, which of course, would be very hard to come to terms with. You can be there for her, seek professional help on her behalf (and go with her to her appointments unless she doesn't allow you to).

    Let her voice her reasons of why she wants to quit treatment. Sometimes just speaking out loud our truths help us to see things in a different, more logical light.

    I don't know the level of your mom's mental illness, so I realize that maybe some of the things I said above may not be helpful - so you can obviously take or leave anything I've shared. :)

    Hang in there!