Posted by: Tina | 2019/08/23


A family member (in his 70's) has always had anger issues but this year he was diagnosed with cancer, had an operation and has been through chemo and radiation and it seems to have gotten way worse. He has become aggressive. He is going for his final scan and blood results in 2 months time to see if the cancer has gone - do you think it is the stress that has caused this or has the cancer treatment caused this or do you think it could be dementia? what would you advise?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2019/08/23

Hello Tina ;
I understand your sensible concerns, but it's not possible at a distance to make a diagnosis here.  It may be a combination of all the factors you mention, and more.  The stress of having cancer and enduring it's treatment would be upsetting to anyone, and especially someone who has had long-standing difficulties in handling stress and anger issues, this could be difficult to handle at times.
Dementia is a possibility in any of us in our later years, quite apart from whatever other illnesses we experience.
In this sort of situation, I would usually advise an assessment by a clinical psychologist, who could both assess the possibility of dementia or other physical/chemical causes of his mental state, and also talk with him about his experiences of this illness and treatment, and help him to deal with the emotional aspects of this, better than he does now. 
If there is a diagnosis of dementia, then there are issues of how best to treat it : you may find it useful to check in my Depression Expert Forum, where today I have dealt in detail with an important issue about treating depression or agitation in an elderly person.

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