Lumpectomy without radiation - foolish or not?

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Ides
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   Posted 11/14/2009 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
My 84 year old mother was diagnosed with DCIS - Grade III per a recent biopsy. Yesterday I accompanied her to her first appointment with the breast surgeon. The surgeon advised mastectomy or lumpectomy followed by external or internal radiation. The size of the calcification in the duct is tiny.
 
Prior to the doctor visit, my mother was opposed to ALL surgical intervention. After talking with the doctor she has agreed to having a lumpectomy. She realizes that radiation is recommended following the surgery to enhance the chances that the cancer will not return. However, she feels at her age that she is likely to die of something else before the cancer could come back and kill her. The doctor somewhat agrees but still encouraged her to speak to the radiation oncologist and proceed with her recommended treatment.
 
My mother has a few health issues but is still quite active for her age. She lives alone and would like to continue to do so. She was more interested in the internal radiation because of its shorter procedure time [one week versus 4-6 weeks for external]. However, she fears that the effects of the radiation might cause her to lose some of her vitality.
 
I know that if I push, I can get her to agree to radiation. My question though is this selfish of me? I have read at breastcancer.org all the info about DCIS and treatments. I have mixed feelings and welcome any input those of you wish to offer.
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barkyboys
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Date Joined Jul 2003
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   Posted 11/14/2009 6:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Ides. I would encourage your mom to see the radiation oncologist and at least discuss her options, all the side-effects, and see what the doctor's recommendations are. She was opposed to surgery, but has agreed to have it. She may well end up following the oncologist's advice, too.

I've never had radiation, but I'm sure others who have will tell you it does make you tired. I don't know how long that lingers after treatment, but I'm sure others will be able to answer that.

Personally, at 84, I think I would be inclined to let my mom's decision be the final one, once she has the knowledge to make an informed decision. But I would certainly push her to keep an open mind until she gets the information she needs to make a decision.

I think we're all a bit selfish when it comes to wanting to keep our parents with us as long as we can. But it sounds like your mom is at a place in her life where she is much more concerned with quality of life than quantity. Let us know how it goes.

Hugs...
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


debbiR
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Date Joined Feb 2005
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   Posted 11/14/2009 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Ides! I'm sorry to hear about your mom. My grandmother was 87 when she was dx w/ bc. She called and told us that she was going to have a double mastectomy in 3 days. I immediately asked her if I could get her records and have my oncologist go over them. She agreed. My oncologist was shocked that any physician would suggest a double mastectomy on a lady of her age. He said that the cancer wouldn't kill her. She would die of something else and he was right. I gave my grandmother the info and she decided to have 8 radiation treatments. She did pretty well. She was tired. She also lived by herself, out in the country. She traveled 45 miles one way to get treatment. She died at age 99 of simply old age.

I would have your mom talk to the radiologist also. Has she sought a 2nd opinion? Let her make the final decision. You also might contact your local American Cancer Society and see if they could put your mom in touch w/ someone near her age that has gone thru this. Talking to someone else might help her.

Let us know what she decides and how she does.

Hugs

Deb


 


mcjane
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Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 11/15/2009 12:06 AM (GMT -7)   
""However, she fears that the effects of the radiation might cause her to lose some of her vitality.""

Good thinking here, maybe not the best way to go though.

Have a serious talk with your Mother's Oncologist.

Ides
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Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 6858
   Posted 11/16/2009 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all for the advice. I am going with my mother to the radiation oncologist on Friday. I'll let you know what she decides.
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mcjane
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Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 11/21/2009 12:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Ides, how did the visit with the doctor go. Please keep us posted.

Jane

Ides
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Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 6858
   Posted 11/21/2009 3:50 PM (GMT -7)   
My mother is going to have a lumpectomy followed by internal radiation. She called her sister Thursday night to tell her about the cancer diagnosis. She thought that she should know. Her sister revealed that she had a partial mastectomy 2.5 years ago followed by radiation. She NEVER told anyone in the family. This plus what the radiation oncologist told her really convinced my mother that she needed to do the recommended treatments. In addition to my mother's sister having breast cancer, my mother's grandmother and 2nd great grandmother also had breast cancer.

The radiation oncologist felt that the six weeks of external radiation would cause my mother more problems than the internal radiation. I like the surgeon and rad. oncologist very much. They spoke on the phone between my mother's visit to the radialogist and surgeon. The two doctors have very thoroughly coordinated their plan, minimizing the number of trips my mother will have to make to the breast center. We are very fortunate that she lives close to probably the finest breast cancer center in the state. My mom is going into the surgery with a very positive attitude. I believe this is going to serve her well during her recovery.

The breast surgeon did recommend that I discuss my risks given the family history and the immunosuppressing drugs that I have been taking for over 5 years. She feels a baseline breast MRI should be done at this time if my risk warrants it.

Thanks for all of your comments and well wishes. My mother is a tough, head strong lady that has all of her wits and much of the feistiness that has served her so well through the years. She should handle the surgery and radiation treatments quite well.
Moderator Crohn's Disease  & Osteoarthritis Forums
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, asthma, severe allergy and a host of other medical problems.
 


mcjane
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 11/21/2009 9:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Ides, I wanted to get out of the radiation, but I know it's the wrong thing to do so I'm going ahead with it and glad your Mother is too. BC is nothing to fool around with, you do what you have to do.

Does your Mother have to stay in the hospital while doing internal radiation....from what I've read you do until the tubes are removed.

In October I had surgery and reconstruction and the only real pain I felt was in the recovery room they gave me Dilaudid and the pain was gone. After that it was more like tenderness and when home took only Tylenol for pain. Guessing the reason is because breast surgery is on a part of the body that doesn't really move and has muscles you don't use very much.
I had both breasts reconstructed (breast lift) so they would match. Lots of cutting so I was amazed that I had almost no pain. I've read posts on breastcancer.org where many say they had very little pain after surgery, might be a comfort to your Mother to know this.

I think your Mother will come through just fine.
Will she be on chemo or hormone therapy when she's through with the radiation which starts soon as her incisions heal.
I'll be on Arimidex, hormone therapy, not chemo for five years. My tumor is from producing to much estrogen and progesterone.

Sounds like your Mother is in excellent hands and is very satisfied with her doctors and that's more than half the battle.

My radiology oncologist is a good one too...she's Marisa Weiss president and founder of breastcancer.org
I get a lot of information there, but always come back to Healingwell to get opinions from women that have lived with what your Mother and I are just beginning to deal with. Their experience and willingness to share is worth it's weight in gold.

Jane






Post Edited (mcjane) : 11/21/2009 8:18:22 PM (GMT-7)


barkyboys
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 11/22/2009 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Sounds like your mom made a wise decision. Best of luck to you both.

Hugs...
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz

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