• Any experience with stopping treatment after surgery

    Asked by Doberwomyn on Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Any experience with stopping treatment after surgery

    I have had lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node results good on margins and node biopsy dr referred me to radiologist and dr I assume to discuss meds to suppress my hormones. I am very concerned about effects on my lungs (have asthma) and just risk of the radiation in general also really fear osteoporosis risk from hormone suppression I am 68 and want ing focus on alkaline diet and health only do not want to risk lower quality of life

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • Harry's Avatar

      My mother went through this, but she's 88. That is the difference.

      What you risk is an increased chance that the cancer will come back. I don't think a diet will provide the same level of protection. Yes, quality of life is very important. You don't want to get more years of bad health instead some years of good health. But, additional treatment might give you many years of good health. You're still relatively young. 20 years from now the deciding factors might be different--like it is for my mother.

      Talk to your doctors. Tell them your concerns. How do they plan to treat you to reduce those concerns? What side effects do they expect you to have? How long will you have them? What do they expect to accomplish?

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I agree with Harry about expressing your concerns to your doctors, especially the radiation oncologist and the medical oncologist. Some people have no side effects at all from tamoxifen or the AI's...others do....To help with bone health while on AI's you can take calcium, Vit D, magnesium and Vit K....also some doctors Rx a biophosphonate.....but its an individual decision.....look at all your options and make a decision that you feel good about.....

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I think you should at least meet with the radiation oncologist and explain your concerns. What was explained to me is that the angles of the radiation are planned to avoid the lungs and heart. Also, you should meet with the medical oncologist before you make a decision about hormone-suppressing drugs. There is no harm in getting more information about these recommended treatments.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Radiation is designed to minimize impacts to the adjacent tissue. They can use aiming and depth controls to keep it away from your lungs. As Harry suggest talk to the Drs and tell thrm your concerns, Ask them to explain how they will minimize the effects you are concerned about. Good Luck!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had a bilat with recon in February, chemo April - August. 2 months on Tamoxifen and stoppped it because the side effects were interfering too much with my life.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I don't know if this will help but I have one friend with Breast cancer who did not have treatment after surgery and so far has been doing very well. however she did have more surgery than originally planned (a full mastectomy). My friend has been prepared to change her treatment if something else was found. She knows that cancer is unpredictable.
      Everyone is different just as everyone's treatment is different so the only one to really help with this is your medical team and your family. Take care and know that we are here for you, Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      You are facing a very difficult decision and it truly has to be your decision -- however, I am sure that your doctors can explain the benefits and risks -- and also their plan to keep the side effects in check. Treatment has advanced so much in recent years -- so that we have access to some powerful weapons to battle this evil and elusive enemy. I am sure that you and your doctors will come to a mutual decision on what weapons are best for you. I wish you the best.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SuzanneV's Avatar
      SuzanneV (Best Answer!)

      I had my lumpectomy in September and was recommended the standard radiation at Kaiser.
      However, since my lumpectomy came out with a clear margin and the mammogram after the surgery was clear I decided to not do radiation. This decision was made after talking to different specialists in the field, independent from each other. You have to do your own research and look at your case as an individual. Radiation is not without risk either and the fact that they might damage the lungs was the deciding factor for me. Breast cancer always can come back and if it comes back I can save the radiation for then. I do take Tamoxifin since I was hormone receptive and don't want to risk anything that can be prevented, and must say that so far it has not affected me too much beside occasional hot flashes and vaginal discharge + dry skin. I try to keep busy and exercise to keep my body in tune and to feel good. I can't stress enough to do your own research and talk to different doctors to see what the majority thinks. I was lucky to have some connections at UCSF since they are at the forefront of new research which was totally different then the standard recommendation of my Kaiser plan.

      almost 4 years ago
    • DeanaBeana's Avatar

      You should open up to your doctors and discuss anything that's on your mind. Ask all the questions you feel you need to. It's also a good idea to take a recorder with you to tape the conversation. Just in case you forget something. My friend chose to have a double mastectomy. Luckily she did, the cancer was only supposed to be in the one breast. After the surgery it showed up in both which had spread to several lymph nodes too. She had chemo and radiation.She's had reconstructive surgery. The road was long and hard for her. But she's much better now. Good luck! I wish you the best!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I decided not to seek any further treatment after surgery for a couple of reasons: the onc didn't give me much hope that the treatment(s) would do much other than prolong my life for a couple of months IF the cancer had spread (scans clear, only one node of 27 showed any signs of cancer, the cancer was caught during a regular dermo exam, not due to symptoms or health problem).

      For me, quality of life (I am perfectly healthy otherwise and have always lived that way) is much more important than several months of pain just to gain a couple more of the same. The only real changes I felt the need to make in my life were to make sure I get enough sleep, not skip meals and make myself exorcize every day and of course, I pay closer attention to my body than I did even though I was pretty aware. The quality of life issues I've had due to the surgery (nodes from under right arm removed--nerves slightly damages, slight swelling, some limited movement of arm, ugly scars) are bad enough as far as I am concerned. If there had been further spread of the cancer I might have made a different decision, might not have. One of the biggest and most worrying issues I have now is that the center I am going to is a for profit and keep trying to get me to take more and more tests, most of which, when questioned, they admit aren't that necessary or will tell us, at most, almost nothing. Fishing expeditions at my expense--monetarily and emotionally.

      But this is your decision. As everyone says, speak to your drs, do research and be prepared. There is no perfect answer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • torontocanada's Avatar

      I too had a recent lumpectomy I had lymph node involvement so I will begin chemo soon. One thing I did find when I met with the radiation onc was the depth of knowledge and the way she went through my path report and history! Not ment to compare it with the medical oncologists I had met with a week before her,however she provided and offered much more info, I do think your rads oncologist will be able to help you find your solutions.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Unfortunately, this is sort of a pay now or pay later situation for most of us. Skip radiation and aromatase inhibitors and your skip their side effects. You also increase your risk of cancer recurrence and metastasis.

      In my two bouts with breast cancer (18 years apart and 2 totally different cancers), I've had every treatment their is (lumpectomy, lymph node extraction, bilateral mastectomy, radiation (twice), chemotherapy, Hepceptin infusions, tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor). Of all of those, radiation and hormone depletion were the two easiest in terms of least effect on quality of life.

      almost 4 years ago
    • MsScribe's Avatar

      I had a bilat mastectomy and lymph node removal and then stopped treatment after extensive counseling on my risk factors and age. My lymph nodes were clear and I had cancer in one breast BUT it was stage IV. I failed tamoxifen after 2 months because of side effects.

      I had genetic counseling done to help me figure out my risk levels as well as extensive counseling with my docs. I had less than a 8% chance of recurrence.

      almost 4 years ago

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