Husband with dementia and cancer


New member
Mar 18, 2024
Hello All, My husband was diagnosed with unspecified dementia early last year and was prescribed donepezil. Early this year he started having bowel problems which at first I thought were side effects of the medication. However, our GP suspected something else and since then we have been on a real rollercoaster as my husband in fact has Stage 3 rectal cancer. This week he has undergone 5 days radiotherapy. The consultant thinks (and I agree) that he could not cope with a permanent stoma which would be the other option and we now have to wait for a few weeks to see if the tumour shrinks before they decide on the best way forward. . He is not taking any medication for dementia at the moment as advised by the medics but the dementia consultant is now recommending Memantine.. Has anyone got any experience of this medication please as I am not sure what to do. Is it worth trying and if so what are the side effects? I couldn’t see any difference in my husband when he was taking donepezil and he doesn’t seem any worse since he stopped taking it. His memory and confusion are pretty bad at times made worse of course by what is happening to him. I am struggling a bit and feel quite alone so any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
Hello @Leeklass and welcome to the Dementia Support Forum. I am so sorry to read about your husband, it must be so difficult dealing with dementia and now the bowel cancer.
My husband was put on memantine and he has not had any side effects but everyone is different. He was prescribed as he had become quite verbally aggressive at times and it really worked for him. But different people are prescribed it for different reasons.

I have attached a link to some information which you might find useful.

If you have not already done so you might find it useful to get into contact with Bowel Cancer UK to discuss your husbands particular issues.

In the meantime I hope that you will keep posting on the forum as you will find a lot of support and advice from our members.


Registered User
Jul 9, 2023
Leeklass, you must be so worried, as if dementia wasn't bad enough now he has the cancer to contend with
my OH is on donepezil and has been ok with it, I know when he was prescribed it we were told that if he had problems with it that there were other tablets he could try, maybe someone else will have more information
Let us know how he gets on.x