Patients views

Cora Member Posts: 110
Hello, I hope this question is not too disturbing, if so I apologise in advance. I've read many posts, struggles, hardship, courage, determination, survivors. My thinking is (for me) 1. Accept treatment  which will hopefully prolong life, no matter how unpleasant or gruelling or disfiguring and hope all is clear with a survival rate that is not guaranteed, or 2. Withhold all treatment and live life, however long, to the fullest. I am at a crossroad. I have a new relationship of 8 months. Everything was great till we got the news. I'd be interested if anyone has been there & had these thoughts, ,& what/how you came to your decision.  I will understand if no one replies, it's a hard question. 


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,268
    No-one, even the healthiest, knows how long they have. Most of us choose to extend the time we have, if we can, as far as we consider reasonable. It’s a bit like age - the notion of what is reasonable gets more elastic with time just as the notion of what is old gets stretched out too. My mother used to refer to the ‘oldies’ at her aged care home, that categorically did not include her (88) only those in their nineties. We don’t get to choose the time we live in either, only what we can do in it. 

    Your two choices seem to assume that a) all treatment will be unpleasant and b) that you will be able to live your life to the full without treatment - ie no further unpleasant illness or incapacitation. Neither may be true. There are other options. Give treatment a try (all or some) and see how you fare with it. You may be surprised. You might get more information from your oncologist or surgeon about options and projections. 

    You may also want to consider your views about the really hard question - facing death. None of us get out of here alive, as the saying goes but it often takes something like cancer to start thinking about our mortality seriously.

    Your decision is yours, not any one else’s not even your partner. You are the one who has to be content with it, no regrets. Best wishes. 
  • Cora
    Cora Member Posts: 110
    Yes your right, I too think of death quite a lot, maybe too much, I'm definitely not afraid and part of me wants life to the fullest but I feel guilty this way. My mind is confused.
  • GenK
    GenK Member Posts: 65
    I’m a carer/daughter and previously was a practicing nurse so don’t know if this helps your decision or not. My mother was diagnosed with BC in May this year, screening delays with covid as with so many. Whilst tumour type grade 3 and early lymph involvement she doesn’t appear to be metastatic with current scans etc. Going through the stats with treatment options she was very pessimistic about survival and considering options and common side effects of each treatment option/phase she decided on giving a couple of treatments a go and then making the most of things, and turning down other treatments. We’re still in the midst of current treatments and then it’s hoping for the best and focusing on quality of life, so I guess a middle road option. My aunt had a different type of cancer and chose a palliative chemo to improve quality of life for the time she had left, and a family friend chose just mastectomy and then make the most of life without other BC treatments. It’s very individual. We all die, it’s a matter of how we chose to live, and my personal belief is quality of life is more important than how long one lives, my Nana lived until 101yrs and enjoyed life as fully as possible until the last weeks when she ended up passing peacefully in her sleep, my grandmother passed in her 50’s and made the most of her time after a terminal BC diagnosis (noting screenings and treatments weren’t as advanced in the 70’s when she was diagnosed). 
    I’m nearing 40 and have been in ICU on life support then a few years later became a mother. I don’t know how long I have or if I’ll follow the women in my family who’ve had BC (Nana was lumpectomy only at 87, then still drove herself until 94), or what will happen. I know my beliefs and that I’d rather die younger than suffer a prolonged death, and I have friends who want to give everything a chance to live as long as possible for their loved ones.
     I guess I’m saying, what are your values and beliefs? Given the options you’ve been given what feels like the course that holds truest to your values? If you can find the answers to those two questions it might help you decide. Hth and much light and joy 🌺
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    These questions are all part of accepting the reality of circumstances that would, in our 'normal' lives be purely hypothetical.
    Is there another way? Can I run away from it? Is it all a mistake? 

    Australia has one of the highest breast cancer survival rates in the world. Which does not mean that everyone lives long and happy lives. Those who choose early intervention are statistically better off than those who refuse treatment then try to jump on the bus if their disease escalates.

    Decisions about treatment are deeply personal--we all have our own deal breakers that are a line we won't cross.

    I really wanted to run away when my cancer came back. I looked at my bank balance and thought 'I could blow the lot travelling then not die wondering what I'd missed out on.' A very powerful internal argument. 

    This stuff is hard work. Mxx
  • Cora
    Cora Member Posts: 110
    Thank you. I will write another post shortly, hope you can respond 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,036
    Hi @Cora
    As others have said , none of this is easy.
    The survival rate for breast cancer in Australia is very high and the treatments offered will all be geared to helping you survive .
    As to side effects , some people tolerate treatments better than others and you won’t know until you start how you will react.
    I had double mastectomy , radiotherapy and now hormone therapy.
    I was lucky I didn’t need chemotherapy, but if I had been recommended it I would have had it as I want to give myself the best chance of survival .
    But of course it’s an individual decision .
    I found very helpful the blog and book by the UK breast cancer surgeon ( Dr Liz O’Riordan) who herself got breast cancer - she realised she never really understood what her patients had been going through until she became a patient herself.
    Take care.🌺
  • Cora
    Cora Member Posts: 110
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 448
    You absolutely do not know how your body will react to treatment.
    I just wanted the cancer out and gone. I wanted to throw everything at the cancer.
    I don't know what my future is, but I am optimistic.
    I was diagnosed Stage 2, Grade 3 hormone sensitive BC. Feb 2020.
    I had Mastectomy with axillary clearance, Chemotherapy for 20weeks and Radiotherapy for 5 weeks.
    Oral Aromatase Inhibitors for 5-10 years.
    I'm here to say I survived these treatments in reasonable condition.
    I did not have any nausea with Chemo, I did not lose my hair (I used the cold cap) No burning to the skin with R/T.
    I had no severe side effects. All side effects were manageable. Nothing like the movies.
    I was probably very lucky, compared to other ladies here.
    All the best as you move forward, whatever your choices.
  • Cora
    Cora Member Posts: 110
  • Cora
    Cora Member Posts: 110
    Thankyou so much