• Anyone decline chemo or other therapies after a breast cancer diagnosis ?

    Asked by Barriesmum on Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Anyone decline chemo or other therapies after a breast cancer diagnosis ?

    I was advised to have chemo but also told the cancer would return within a couple of years even if I had chemo, so I declined and just had the mastectomy and nothing else.

    50 Answers from the Community

    50 answers
    • diane123's Avatar
      diane123

      My onc wanted me to take tamoxifen - or remove my ovaries. i refused both. I was Stage 1A...even removed my non-cancer breast in hopes of preventing a recurrence. What stage were you? Who told you the cancer would return no matter what?

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      I don't know what stage I was, but I must find out. I was grade 3. I saw 3 oncologists just after the mastectomy and each one told me the same thing. I saw the first onc. and when I told her I didn't want chemo she brought in a professor (woman) who told me in no uncertain terms....well don't come back here in 2 yrs time and expect us to cure you, because we won't be able to....she told me to think about my decision for a week and come back with my final decision. We went back and there was another onc. she told me the same story. I agreed to have it done, but on the way home I knew I couldn't go ahead with it, so phoned and cancelled it.

      about 5 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar
      lynn1950

      rom what I've read in your posts, it sounds like you need more information to make the best decision. Why are you declining chemo? All the tools available (chemo, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy) reduce the risk of your cancer returning.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      I was told chemo was the only option for me. I was told that even if I had chemo the cancer would most likely return within about 2 yrs anyway. So I thought...why go through XXX if it's only going to return anyway....I'm 61, I've seen my kids grow up, met my grandchildren, why go through XXX for a year when it might only give me an extra couple of years....my husband and I would rather enjoy my good health now than be sick as a dog for a long time and I may not achieve anything anyway. 80% of people who have chemo get cancer again within 5 yrs anyway.....(Australian stats)

      about 5 years ago
    • highwaygirl's Avatar
      highwaygirl

      Wow! You must be a very strong person to make a tough decision like that. My cancer has about the same rate of recurrence as yours does. I wanted to do anything I possibly could to increase my chances of survival. So far so good - I've passed the golden 2 year NED mark and they feel that I've beat it for good.

      FYI, chemo actually wasn't that bad for me. With all the meds they were able to give me, I barely had any side effects at all.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      Actually Highwaygirl, I don't feel strong at all...I actually admire those who have chemo, I just couldn't see myself going through XXX with no guarantee of a cure. I've felt very much on the outter because of my decision, most people do as they're told by their doctors. Yet the doctors themselves say they really don't know what's going to happen even when you have chemo or other treatments.

      about 5 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Hello, I am an oncology/ end of life nurse who specializes in gynecological cancers. Although breast cancer is not a gyne cancer, they are related. I do not know if you have had the BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 genetic test. If you are positive in either, you have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. You need to consider this when deciding whether or not to take an additional chemo regimen. To date, there is no cure for cancer. You can go into remission, even long periods of time. This disease is very intelligent and more than that, patient. You do yourself a disservice if you underestimate its will to survive. Please consider this when making your decision. I would hate to hear you had recurrence in the ovaries down the road. Especially if your cancer is estroven driven. Best of luck, Carm.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Barriesmum , IMO you are laboring under a misconception and it breaks my heart. The truth is that many women live for decades with a high quality of life with advanced stage breast cancer. Breast cancer is not a death sentence any more than many other chronic diseases that we will all get if we live long enough.,

      The recurrence rate of breast cancers within 5 years are statistically higher for those with certain types of breast cancer. That statistic is meaningless for any given individual. Many women have never had a recurrence of breast cancer. Many women have had multiple recurrences of breast cancer and have been in remission multiple times.

      However, if you do not treat your breast cancer now, it will continue to grow and spread and become terminal. You could still end up living for years with a lot of pain.

      You definitely don't want to make this life altering decision without even knowing what stage of cancer you have.

      Chemo is not fun, but I've been through a lot worse and I'm sure you have too. For many people, chemo is a short term process and the amount of time you suffer from side effectsj is only a few days each treatment. It is rarely a long term, sick all the time situation.

      There is never a guarantee of a cure for anything. You could live for another 40 years, with or without cancer, or you could get run over by a bus tomorrow. That doesn't mean there is no point in taking care of your body. It is your body and you certainly have the right to make any decision regarding it's care, but please, please make them informed decisions and after due diligence rather than on misinformation.

      about 5 years ago
    • Moonflay's Avatar
      Moonflay

      My father had lung cancer 15 years ago. His prognosis was not good but he opted for chemo and radiation. He has since had colon cancer and went through chemo once again. On both accounts of cancer he is doing great at 76. I can only imagine how we as a family would have felt had he just opted out on the chemo and not given it a shot. He too had raised all of us and seen all the grandkids born. 15 years ....that's a lot of hugs and family time we would have missed!

      I'd have to fight...for every day I could possibly wring from life...every hour is precious and I refuse to miss any opportunity I might have to tell my family how much I love them ...be it 2 extra days, 2 years or 20!

      Just an FYI...chemo is not necessarily bad, I've had no nausea (never had to take a pill for it) and have not missed a day of work (other than the actual chemo day) since I started treatment. It's not fun but then neither is cleaning toilets or washing windows, just something you have to do. :)

      Good luck, I hope all turns out well for you and your family!

      about 5 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar
      Mollie

      Well my grandma has lung but did decline radiation and only did 3 rounds of chemo...it was AWFUL!!! You did what you felt was right for you and that's great

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      It is very interesting to hear all your comments and I do appreciate you taking the time to write to me about this. I've known several women who, like myself declined any treatment after the initial surgery and they are many years from those early days and living healthy happy lives. I guess no one knows which way things will go....only time will tell. My family and I are happy with the decision I made. I was told all the cancer had been taken, so why poison a healthy body.....if the surgery hadn't removed all the cancer, then perhaps I would have considered it....

      about 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      Why would you do that? I tell you I was 62 when I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer (Known for its rapid recurrence) I was sent to a Gynicologic Oncologist Surgeon... A Saint of a man!!!! Just a kid, only 46. He did the surgery and removed both my ovaries and all the cancer he could see... it had spread to my intestine and eurthea.... It had not invated them, so he simply scraped them clean again.... Then he removed one of my "fat pads" as he found some cells in that. Young and thourough doctor. He upgraded me to Stage IIIC. Which is still considered 'late stage' cancer. I looked at my children and their children, and I'd listened to my husband sobbing in the other room one night. I went to get up and go comfort him... how could I??? But my doctor gave me HOPE!!!! He asked me what I wanted to do.... I told him I wanted to fight,.

      I had put myself in God's hands the momment i figured out what they were looking for (and what they did finally find). I told my Lord that I would follow Him whereever he led me, but that I was so very afraid. He immediately removed my fear... I mean immediately.

      My oncologist had during my debulking surgery implanted a port directing into my abdomine, atttached to a rib... The skin was covering it, but they would access it with a needle.and fill my 'tummy' with chemo drug in a saline solution. It would slosh around inside me and kill off any stray cancer cells it tripped over... We did that for Six cycles of 28 days apiece. Day one I/V infusion... Day two and eight.. I/P infusion into tummy. They gave me medications for nausea prior to infusion, never felt sick... So much for the thought of losing weight.... Anyway. after the twenty-eighth day... We'd start over... They gave me a shot of neulasta on the 9th day to keep my blood count up. This took about 9 months, wtith hollidays, etc. getting in the way.. Every single PET CT Scan continued to show NO CANCER CELLS..

      This oncologist was helping me fight for my life, for my whole life. I came in for a final check up I thought.... and he asked me if I would be interested in doing one more thing to live,, I asked him if he would ask his mother to do the same thing. His response... Carol if you lwere my mother... I'D MAKE YOU DO THIS!!!! Well enough said... I did it. One more year of chemo once a month for the twelve months.... I think I actually did 13 months, but who's counting.

      Never got sick, but did experience food tasting like 'mush'... no flavor... fingers and feet went numb, oh yeah... of course my hair fell out... But I found PaulaYoung.com Wigs and let me tell you my hair always looked great.... My fingernails hurt, so I cut them short and that ended that. I was very very tired, and would sleep a lot for a few days after the infusion of chem (which was I/V).

      Now let me tell you if it was worth it. A few months after stopping Chemo... I had my right knee replace and six weeks later my left.. (I'm 65 at this time).. I told my oncologist who seemed surprised that I was going to do that..... :If I'm going to live... I'm going to walk with no pain..." I did and I'm walking with no pain.

      I'd always wanted to go to Cape Cod,, We did that the next summer... two of our children, their children and my Tom and I. What fun... We went looking for and found graves of my ancesters who had come over to the "New World" in 1635...." (Lots of time on the computer when doing chemo and sleeping). The next summer we went to Oregon and spent time with some dear dear friends.... long drive we live in the Twin Cites, MN. The next summer we went to my 50th high school reunion in Ohio. This past year... Lets see... We had our first Great Grand son.. oh what a treasure he is to cuddle. He looks just like his daddy who lookes just like his daddy... Then our Great grand daughter arrived... and a tinly little love she is. Oh yes...There's a song out there that says... something like, "If you have to chose between sitting it out or dancing..... I hope you dance". Last Saturday we went to our Grandson's wedding... AND WE DANCED!!!!!!!

      God gave you life... he gave you family... He'll lead you to where you are supposed to be. He gave doctors tools to cure you.. to keep you with your family,.. all you have to do is choose life. or.... in my favorite words. I HOPE YOU DANCE!!!!!

      Just my story... I hope you'll listen to this one woman's opinion... Life is so worth fighting for! Next week-end we're heading out to Coos Bay Oregon again...I'll wave as we go through Washington.

      about 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      Oh one more thing.... It's now been 7 years since my diagnosis and surgery... AND I'M STILL CANCER FREE!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      Thank you Carol-Charlie for telling your story, you have been a very brave woman. I don't have your passion, I don't have your fear, I am very comfortable with the decision I've made and so are my family. Time will tell if cancer comes back to my body. I don't consider I have cancer anymore....it was something I ... HAD....past tense...it is gone, it was taken out with surgery, no more was found on any scan I had.

      Oh, and no point in waving to me when you go past Washington....lol....the WA referred to means.... Western Australia !! :-) But thanks for the thought. :-)

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Barriesmum, While I certainly respect your decision, something just isn't jiving. Chemotherapy is not recommended for people who don't have cancer and no oncologist is going to tell you that your cancer will recur regardless in 2 years if you don't have cancer. Cancer recurs because there are remaining cancer cells but they are too few or too scattered to show up in a scan or too far from the primary site to show up on a pathology report after surgery. Your medical information as you have presented it just doesn't seem to make sense. I still implore you to at least get all the facts before you make a decision. What stage is/was your cancer, why is chemo recommended? and why do three different specialist insist your cancer will return? At least get answers to those questions before you make a decision.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      :-) I was told I had grade 3 cancer, I was told it was aggressive. I was told I was HER2 negative. No cancer was shown in the 10 lymph nodes that were removed and they seemed satisfied that all cancer had been taken. I had other tests and no cancer was found in my bones or any other organs. It was really a bit of an accident that I saw 3 oncologists. When I told the first one I didn't want chemo, she asked a professor to come in and talk to me. The next week, both those women were unavailable to see, so that's when I saw the third one. To my memory, no one told me what...stage...I was at, so when I go for my next saline infusion for my reconstruction next week, I'll ask. I was told I had about an 8 week window after the operation to decide if I wanted chemo. I'm really not worried that I didn't have chemo, I simply asked the original question to see if there were any other women out there on the site who made the same decision as me. So far there doesn't seem to be. I'm getting the distinct impression that as generous with all your coments as you are, you all think I'm crazy. But that's ok....I know what a lot of other people think....the majority of women accept extra treatment, but I also know other don't.

      about 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      Barriesmum.... Wester Austrailia.... I have a very dear friend living 'down under' in Christ Church. She prayed with me and for me.. then her sister-in-law got the same ovarian cancer..... sadley she didn't survive. I'm glad you're doing that well... I live looking forward also. If something happens... I can be grateful for what I've accomplished, What I've been allowed to share. with my family. Glad all is well with you.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      Carol, if you look at a map of Australia, I'm on the bottom left hand side :-) South of the capital city of Perth, on the coast, a place called Mandurah. I've been attending the local Baptist church for just on 2 yrs and love it. My doctor (GP) also attends the same church, which is great. He's been my doctor for about 20 yrs.

      about 5 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar
      lynn1950

      Annie, I don't think you're crazy for not doing chemo. I'm just concerned that you are not well-informed.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      The oncologists and my doctor informed me as well as they could, they almost INSISTED that I have it, they told me all their reasons why they believed I should have it. They seemed very upset when I refused, but I took into consideration my general lifestyle and how felt the chemo would affect my severe depression which I've lived with for 20 yrs, we looked at our relationship...which is amazing...we talked to my family and asked their opinions....they all agreed with my choice. I saw my mother live with cancer for 28 yrs and saw what the various treatments did to her body. Sure she lived to be 90, but I don't want to live to be 90 and go through what she did. She had chemo and hormone therapy over all those years....I don't want my life to be like that.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Barrniesmum, I don't mean to offend, but I am getting the impression that you are looking for a graceful way out of life, perhaps due to your long standing depression. That is your right and decision to make, I just hope you have made it with full knowledge and understanding that without further treatment, it could still be a long and painful way to go. Wishing you all the best.

      about 5 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar
      SandiD

      Please remember you are not your mother. Medicine has improved. I did chemo & radiation. It was not that bad. I mostly took a lot of naps & was fatigued. But I am 3 years out from diagnosis. It was doable. Chemo is to make sure there is not a cancer cell left. That would not ever show up in a scan. Also, I took Cymbalta during treatment.

      But the choice is certainly yours. For me, I will fight it every time I have a chance.

      God bless you on this journey.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      Nancy....I take no offence at what anyone says....everyone's situation is different.....my depression has taken me very, very close to death more than once...and it's more horrible than I could describe. The nightmare of being out of touch with reality as the rest of the world sees it.....and being terrified for days and weeks on end. I usually relaps every 2 years or there abouts. But that is a different story. So I come back here to ask my original question....is there anyone on the site who has declined chemo or other cancer therapies....I... DO NOT... have cancer anymore. I was cleared of it.

      about 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      Consider checking out the forums at breastcancer.org. I know there are breast cancer survivors there who have made the decision to decline treatment beyond surgery.

      Best wishes. I wish you many many many years healthy and cancer-free.

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      Thanks Lee, I've made a note of that site and will certainly check it out, maybe find others who understand how I feel. Cheers.

      about 5 years ago
    • Pattyrn212's Avatar
      Pattyrn212

      dear barriesmum,

      My girlfriend had a mastectomy on her left side 4 years ago. She was told they got it all and she didn't need further treatment except for mammograms on remaining breast. She was recently rediagnosed with a tumor on her mastectomy side. If any bit of breast tissue remains then there is a chance of recurrence. I had chemo and radiation prevent this. (I did have positive nodes too though) I have mixed feelings about cancer treatment altogether as I feel people treat the beast rather than prevent it. If you choose to forego treatment may I suggest juicing? I find great comfort in knowing that each time I drink a green juice...I'm getting major cancer fighting micronutrients! There is so much good info out there about the positive effects of juicing!

      about 5 years ago
    • LadyM's Avatar
      LadyM

      It is the most difficult fight you will ever undertake. I understand the decision to fight and I understand the decision to decline treatment. If you decline you may regret your decision later and why are you declining? finances? fear? lack of support from family or friends?

      about 5 years ago
    • Barriesmum's Avatar
      Barriesmum

      I asked my surgeon this week what stage I was at and he said...stage 2....at the time of diagnosis. He said it was staged on the size of the lump, I only had cancer in the lump not in any nodes or anywhere else. So now I know I was Grade 3, Stage 2....that's all I know.

      about 5 years ago
    • kum's Avatar
      kum

      Hi i have had surgery after i was diagnosed with Breast cancer stage II / III. i knew i had breast cancer before even i went to the dr for imaging etc. i thought i would not treat it as i had volunteered in Sloan Kettering -- hospital for Cancer-- for three years about 15 years ago and had seen the after effects of cancer and i definitely did not want to go thru it. However eventually a girl friend coaxed me to go to the dr and then one thing led to another and i had my surgery in July and yesterday i have had my second chemo. After my first chemo just the bad taste and lethargy were the basic symptoms. i have started putting on weight, about which i am not happy but i have already started dealing with it by making good and intelligent choices. So dear sister please reconsider and start chemo for that is the least you owe yourself. God gave us this body so that we could take care of it and lead a life of happiness. The body is the temple in which the Lord resides and it is our duty to keep it healthy and fit for Him to reside in. i send you lots of love and healing your way.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Staging refers to the size and spread of your cancer. Grading refers to how individual cancer cells look and behave. Stage 2, as you said, refers to an isolated but relatively large tumor. Stage 2 combined with a low grade can often be effectively treated with surgery (lumpectomy) and radiation or surgery alone (mastectomy). However, when combined with a high grade (3 being the highest) , there is is a much greater risk of stray cancer cells surviving because they are poorly differentiated, less likely to be detected, and grow and divide more quickly in a less organized and less predictable pattern.

      I was stage 3B and grade 3 when I was diagnosed in November 2011. I had chemo, surgery, and radiation. I have been in complete remission with no evidence of cancer since April. Because I was also triple positive, I am still on herceptin infusions though Nov. 2012 and an aromatase inhibitor (a once a day pill) for a minimum of 5 years. I will be 65 in November, work full time, take care of husband and youngest daughter who have some health and financial issues respectively that somewhat limit their independence, take care of our home, and enjoy multiple hobbies.

      There are no guarantees that even with full treatment, I won't have a recurrence down the road. There also isn't a guarantee I won't get run over by a bus tomorrow, so I still look both ways before crossing the street. And even a recurrence of cancer is not a death sentence. I know people who have had multiple recurrences or that live (and live well) with cancer as a chronic but managed disease just like diabetes or high cholesterol or blood pressure.

      Please understand that I am not making any kind of moral judgement about your decisions. What concerns me is that your responses indicate you are not making an informed decision based of all of the information relevant to your particular case.

      about 5 years ago
    • kenwood363's Avatar
      kenwood363

      from reading all the posts and your stage of life - I agree with your decision. There are many types and combos of chemo treatment - but most all have a negative impact on quality of life. I might recommend that you look into some of the homeopathic options (mostly vitamins/minerals and naturals like blueberry extract, etc.) My wife has now shunned chemo in favor of quality of life for each day she has left. She has done fairly well with the homeo supplements - even if it just a placebo effect - has done no harm - and improve her energy levels (heavy B vitamins.) Good luck to you in your decisions and future...

      about 5 years ago
    • Desibuff's Avatar
      Desibuff

      I say go for it girl, you can do it, i did!

      about 5 years ago
    • Capriness' Avatar
      Capriness

      Hi Barriesmum. Wow. You are getting a lot of pressure from people on this post. I got a lot when I decided to forego anymore treatment too. From family, friends, and doctors. I had to make the decision between quality vs. quantity and I chose quality like you did. Good for you to stick to your guns. I'm proud of you.

      about 5 years ago
    • Bonanza's Avatar
      Bonanza

      I was told by my onc to go on arimidex. I think i am going to refuse and seek alternative medicine cures.
      Can anyone suggest any holistic approaches.

      about 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      I didn't deny treatment perse (sp), but I quit treatment early....I endured AI's for 3 1/2 years then said, enough is enough!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • Bulldogdarc's Avatar
      Bulldogdarc

      I am BRCCA 1 positive but didn't find out about the gene until after my 1st mastectomy. How do they know that your cancer will return ??? I was triple negative- huge tumor in my breast. I had chemo but declined the radiation because I tried to have reconstruction. The reconstruction was the worst for me , 6 months of the cut not healing & infection with pain. I am still in pain from all the scar tissue. I am still baffled about the return of your cancer...... I guess we have to live our lives today. I have had double masc & complete hysterectomy to try to reduce my risk, so the only process's I regret is the reconstruction .

      about 5 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      Did you have Oncotype DX testing? I had stage 1, grade 2 cancer in my left breast only. I had a bilateral masectomy with reconstruction. They said they got all the cancer so I thought I was okay, However, my Oncotype DX testing scored 24, so chemo was recommended, not required. I felt that after having both breasts removed, how could I not have the chemo that would lower my recurrence rate from 18-20% down to 10%? And now I will take Tamoxifen for 5 years to lower that chance to 4-5%. I am an uber competitve person and I was going to fight cancer like I would fight anything else...with everything I have. I saw two different oncologists and both highly recommended chemo followed by Tamoxifen. I had my scans last week after finishing chemo and while my scans were clear, so I am essentially cancer free, we all know there is no cure. I hesitated about taking the Tamoxifen, mainly because I was scared of the side effects but I decided to give it a shot. I want the best possible odds for me to remain cancer free. YOu can read all about my decisions and how I arrived at them on my blog at nancebeth.blogspot.com

      Good luck.

      about 5 years ago
    • momnson's Avatar
      momnson

      Barriesmum, im right there with you. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer and went thru chemotherapy by pill form and radiation together at the same time. Then I was able to have surgery to remove the tumor after healing from the radiation. I had to have a illeostomy after the surgery which was a pain from day one. I also ended up having a esophogus stricture that made it impossible to keep food or drink down for 6 weeks. I ended up in ER numerous times and also hospitalized till they figured out what was wrong. I was given botox injection into my esophogus and finally was able to eat and drink again. I almost died and the doctor said my radiation treatment more and likely caused this stricture. So I was to have my illeostomy reversal and my oncologist said now we have to wait until you are done with chemo which would be 6- 8 months and I said no way. I am getting this illeostomy gone before I do any kind of chemo again. He said you are giving this cancer time to reproduce and your outcome isnt going to be as well as if you do chemo now. What, four weeks is going to change my circumstances, I dont think so. We dont have a guarantee that if we do chemo it isnt going to come back anyway or if we dont do chemo it will be harder to get rid of if it comes back. I myself took the chance and went against dr orders and feel good about my decision. I commend you for your decision. I myself want as many good days that I can have without chemo taking away most of those days. I say to you, you go girl. It is each persons right to do chemo or not without being judged by their actions.

      about 5 years ago
    • Bubbles' Avatar
      Bubbles

      Thank you for asking the question...I had to make a decision today and all of the answers to your question really helped me......why do you think the doctors sometimes think this is about them?...sorry not this time,,,its all about ME!

      about 5 years ago
    • rjackson's Avatar
      rjackson

      Im a 45 yr old female, whom had breast cancer, i was dignosed in april of 2012 even though i had a clean mammo 3 months prior a mass form on my left breast, i did do 6 treatments of chemo, i also have lupus , so with the chemo that was harsh and the lupus help bringing my immune system down after each time i ended up in hospital every time, with blood transfusions and low blood count, now that i finish my chemo , i did my scan it came back good no cancer but just as today i went to another onc, now i have to do 6 weeks of radition to the area where the breast was taken for every day (5 days a week) i ask myself why again, if my scans were good, but the dr said to make sure of a reoccuance so i was against it but ive decided to do it i rather live another 6 weeks of treatment even though 5 days a week then go back doing chemo, but do all you can do to stay alive and healthy . god bless you all.

      over 4 years ago
    • paulasbabo's Avatar
      paulasbabo

      My mother refused Chemo after her mastectomy and three years later developed in her other breast. She did take chemo after her second mastectomy but three years later developed ovarian. By the time she went to the doctor and underwent surgery to remove the cancer it had attached to her bowel and there was nothing they could do. Of course she did take Chemo, radiation and cobalt but she still died six months later, just like the doctor had said. I had genetic testing in 2010 and was positive for the gene that causes breast and ovarian cancer, so in December of 2010 I had a hysterectomy. I wanted longer on the breast but had it scheduled for March of 2013. In October on my yearly mammogram they found something in my right breast. Which turned out to be high grade cancer, which is also the most affected by Chemo. I have three treatments of Chemo, which I have chosen to take. It gives me a 90% chance of never getting cancer again anywhere in my body. I'm taking the Chemo and I'm taking those odds. I had a 90% chance of getting breast cancer and got it, so it looks like a pretty fair trade off.

      over 4 years ago
    • paulasbabo's Avatar
      paulasbabo

      My mother refused Chemo after her mastectomy and three years later developed in her other breast. She did take chemo after her second mastectomy but three years later developed ovarian. By the time she went to the doctor and underwent surgery to remove the cancer it had attached to her bowel and there was nothing they could do. Of course she did take Chemo, radiation and cobalt but she still died six months later, just like the doctor had said. I had genetic testing in 2010 and was positive for the gene that causes breast and ovarian cancer, so in December of 2010 I had a hysterectomy. I wanted longer on the breast but had it scheduled for March of 2013. In October on my yearly mammogram they found something in my right breast. Which turned out to be high grade cancer, which is also the most affected by Chemo. I have three treatments of Chemo, which I have chosen to take. It gives me a 90% chance of never getting cancer again anywhere in my body. I'm taking the Chemo and I'm taking those odds. I had a 90% chance of getting breast cancer and got it, so it looks like a pretty fair trade off.

      over 4 years ago
    • Tibs' Avatar
      Tibs

      I had a very aggressive grade 3 breast cancer removed in October 2012. I was offered 6 chemos, but it was optional as the lymph nodes were clear. I had one but couldnt manage to do more. When I finally understood that chemo helps only one in ten people like me, I decided the chemo treatment would be as bad as the disease and declined any more. 8 months later & my memory seems to be getting back to normal. I wish to live but not with chemo brain! Jai!

      over 4 years ago
    • baridirects' Avatar
      baridirects

      This is such a personal decision. Barriesmum, I know it's been awhile since your original post, but I just wanted to send you my kudos for having the strength and courage to follow your heart.

      I was diagnosed with Stage 3c Infiltrating Lobular Cancer of the left breast in late February of this year. I found the tumor myself in January, after having had a negative mammogram the previous July. From the moment you are diagnosed, you get on a roller coaster ride that never seems to end. It was perhaps a little easier for me because one of my undergrad degrees was in Pre-Med/Biology, and I ran doctor's offices for many years, so I was well-versed in all the lingo. In any case, I chose to have my right breast removed also, since ILC tends to recur in the opposite breast. It was a no-brainer decision to reduce that risk item from 15% to about 3%, particularly since I knew I would never trust mammograms again. My cells were a level 2, and my Oncogene result was right in the middle of the road, but with 19 fully involved nodes on the left, I knew that there was no question of whether I would pursue chemo, radiation, and whatever else they could offer me. So far, the chemo has been absolutely doable...by a week post-treatment, I felt pretty much myself again.

      As I have no health insurance, and I'm paying for all of this out of pocket, I guess I might have some additional incentive to constrain treatment, and therefore cost. But, hey, at 54, I have a lot of life to live yet, and I'm determined to give myself the absolutely best chance of being here for a long time to come.

      I wish you all a healthy future-
      Hugs, Christine

      over 4 years ago
    • vanstrada54's Avatar
      vanstrada54

      I have done the same thing as you after my mastectomy . The Drs who gave me the same talk again as you (are you sure we weren't sisters in another life ?lol) have treated me like I am unsound in mind but I feel very comfortable with my personal decision not to go down the chemical path . I am taking Arimedex which is a marvelous alternative to chemo . And also I have changed my life patterns
      I am seeing a counsellor learning to deal with stress as that is one of the factors in breast cancer ,I have changed my eating habits and reducing the chemicals in my food . I research many alternatives to chemo and enjoy cancer survivor sites where I learn many new things . I am aiming for quality in life not necessarily quantity. My faith also helps me to seize the day as this is all we really have . Hugs on your journey .

      over 4 years ago
    • marybeth's Avatar
      marybeth

      Hi Barriesmum, If I was you son or daughter, I would be a total wreck over your decision at such a young age. Honestly, I am like you in that I have a great deal of mistrust in the medical profession and cannot tell you the number of doctors and nurses who I have met who treat you like an idiot if you voice your own opinions even when they are based on solid research. I was a research librarian for 40 years and am quite good at scoping out info. I need to make my own decisions. My current onc is a nice guy but he (and my surgeon) tell me not to believe what I read even when the info. comes from substantial medical journals. Anyway, so much for that tirade. I know pretty much keep my thoughts to myself. Although the most recent evidence of this is that I had a lot of nausea after first chemo and nulasta for four days and my onc prescribed a tranquillizer that does nothing and that I have actually been addicted to in the past. Ha!! You should really thing very seriously about this. The treatment is hard but not that hard and even if all it gives you is another year or two to enjoy seeing you family grow, why would you not take it. My husband would be bereft if I were making such a decision just as we begin to enjoy our retirement life. When years ago my sister talked about suicide, I told her it would kill me along with her and she needed to think of others besides just herself. You don't really NEED to do so but if I was your kid or your husband, I'd be wishing you would. And I'd help you in any way possible to get through the treatments.

      about 4 years ago
    • AMG's Avatar
      AMG

      I also declined chemo & 10 years of tamoxifen

      over 3 years ago
    • Keenkayaker's Avatar
      Keenkayaker

      I am BRCA1 and was diagnosed with triple negative grade 3 breast cancer in November 2009, no lymph node spread. I had a TUG mastectomy on the affected side, didn't even think then to question the chemo and after completing my chemo followed by a preventative hysterectomy, it took me at least 3 years to get back to my old self. Then in December 2013 I had my second primary diagnosis of breast cancer on the other side and went through the whole Tug mastectomy operation again. Once again, no lymph node involvement and chemo recommended. However this time I have refused, completely happy with my decision. Discussed it with my family and they fully support me - there are more reasons just too long to list. Just wish people would respect my decision and leave me alone!

      over 3 years ago
    • Irenes' Avatar
      Irenes

      At 73years of age I decided against chemo but did the radiation and am on letrozole. I had a radical mastectomy with 18 lymph nodes removed . Six were infected. I am coming up on my one year check up. Am still very fatigued and I spend a good part of every day exercising the arm to keep it mobile and try to keep the lymphedema at bay. I am looking forward to at least another ten to fifteen years of quality time with my family.

      over 3 years ago
    • FernandoRidley's Avatar
      FernandoRidley

      The most common cause of women’s death is breast cancer. One in 8 women is highly affected by the disease in any stage of life. It’s essential to know about mammogram screening as mentioned here http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/mammograms-made-easier/article_3a57ed16-cf0e-5211-8b27-8717c35aa96c.html to detect the condition in initial stage. Its treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and bone directed therapy. Yes though such therapies usually increase the survival rate of cancer patients, but might become harmful too.

      over 1 year ago

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