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What is the typical breast cancer life expectancy?

48 answers | Last updated: Oct 13, 2015
Rosana asked...

I am 58 years old and have stage IIIA breast cancer. I don't want to receive any kind of treatment because of my own believes and because I have seen how my father, mother and sister felt after receiving chemotherapy. What is my life expectancy and what is the worse thing that can happen to me beside dying?


Caring.com User - Dan Tobin, M.D.
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Dan Tobin, M.D. is the CEO of Care Support of America, a national service providing telephonic and local nurse counsel to adult children...
26% helpful
Dan Tobin, M.D. answered...


Life expectancy with not treating your breast cancer is something you should ask your doctor. It is certainly your choice how to treat your cancer and it is important that others are respectful of your choices. It will be helpful to get emotional support and practical guidance when facing dying. I admire your courage and to face advanced illness and end of life issues straight on.

All the best

Dan Tobin


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Rosana answered...

Thank you for your answer Mr. Tobin. I am also greatful for respecting my choice on how to live and how to confront my illness. Is better to confront the end of life issues straight on and not to be scared, I believe that there is a better life and I am not afraid. Once again, thank your for taking the time on answering my question.


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DonnaLou57 answered...

I was dx with stage lllA breast cancer 8 years ago. I know that I felt like you do and did not want to go through all the treatments that were planned for me. I respect your wishes but I wish you would really check out the treatment plans today compared to 8 years ago. I went through all my treatments and I will tell you it was hard, but with the help of God and my husband and family and friends I got through it. The alternitive to living is death and you said you were not scared, but what about your family? I am sure they love you and do not want to see you die. There has been so many changes since I went through treatment I would not be afraid to do this again. So many meds out there to help with the vomiting and other pains you might have. If you do nothing, you will probably die and I don't think it will be an easy death. I have lost too many friends and watching them die was horrible, I pray that you will check out all you can because knowledge is power. God Bless Donna Lou


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Aju answered...

When cancer has been surgically removed, you may have a 50 or 60% chance of survival for a ten year period with no further treatment. Chemo can add an additional 10%. People are under the false assumption that chemo is the cure all. If they survive, they will credit chemo, when in effect they may have lived without it. They pay no attention to the actual statistics. The chemo can have more side effects than the actual risk from the cancer. Think positive, eat well, and ignore the thought of breast cancer. I just completed a four cycle regimin of TC for an early breast cancer to satisfy my family. The recommendation was an aggressive eight cycle of TAC. I took a conservative root, and suffered from every side effect possible. My positive attitute stems from the fact that I believe it was caught on time and that it will never return. After radiation, I will never turn the page and move on to forget this horrible experience.


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justmedap answered...

Donna Lou is correct (though blunt) in many of her statements, I feel, especially "The alternitive to living is death and you said you were not scared, but what about your family?" Because of my faith I too would know that what is waiting after death is not to be afraid of but I also know that God put doctors on earth to help during our troubled times. I have not been through what you are experiencing but have many friends and family who have. Watching a loved one go through the suffering is not easy for your family and especially for you. Why not try to help yourself and fight? I Care. God Bless.


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Courtneyll answered...

You do have the right to not treat. I honestly don't think family and friends wants are importent as your own feelings, this is just my personal feeling they dont have to sit for hours with poison going through them. Saying that I am glad I went through this I am a different person from this and feel this is God's plan. Honestly in 10 months i am healthy happy and doing things I love. Stage III is pretty far along, so depending on the aggressivness of your tumor will depend on how long you really have. I think the bigger question should be how long do you have before you can't live life how you enjoy it. You may be able to live months maybe years but how much of that time is going to be enjoyable?? God bless you in whatever you choose it's no ones choice but yours. Making a pro and cons list always helps me!!! Good luck!!!


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Rosana answered...

Thank you so much for all your answers and specially for caring. I am doing what makes me feel better right now, I am living and enjoy life better now than before maybe because I think that is not going to be easy later on, I thank God each day and I live being positive and not even thinking that I have breast cancer, I am trying to eat healthy and I am a very positive person. I lost my father, my sister, mother and including my pet with cancer so I am very familiarize with that disease and with the consequences and I was the one that keep on pushing my sister to do everything exactly what the doctors told her to do until one day she told me that she was tired, so believe me I know everything I need to know about cancer, I don't have family only friends and some of them understand my feelings and they respect my ideas another one will continue on trying for me to change my mind, I love them anyway. Thank you once again for your understanding, your answers and God bless you all. We all are fighting for a better life, the only thing is that we fight in different ways.


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Halyn answered...

I just watched my 60y/o cousin die from untreated breast cancer .. and it was not pretty. She lived for about 1 year after the diagnosis .. there was a lot of pain involved .. both physical and psychological. My suggestion is that you research the disease and familiarize yourself with its path .. use the diagnosis your doctor gave you .. then see if there is anything offered in the way of treatment that would fall within the parameters of your wishes. You might also wish to contact your local hospice group .. they are (in my experience anyway) extremely helpful. If you don't have family and your friends are going to help you .. they will need the support of this group towards the end. I wish you well .. and hope that this has been of some help.


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Clysta answered...

I am 59 years old, and was diagnosed at stage IIIC in January. I just completed 6 months of chemo and radiation. I experienced lymphedema from the mastectomy; hair loss, neuropathy, some nausea and some exhaustion, dry mouth and watery eyes from the chemo; and a painful radiation dermatitis from the radiation.

I have had wonderful and caring healthcare professionals who reacted with compassion to every one of my concerns or complaints--and the support of friends and family. I am looking forward to the positive outcome--whatever that is--once the radiation dermatitis disappears and the lymphedema eases. (I'm the kind of person who, if given a barn full of manure would start shoveling--because I'd know there had to be a pony in there, somewhere. SMILE!) A sense of humor has helped me get through most of the unpleasantness--and knowing that my God will see me through--whether I have 1 year or 50.

No one can or should decide for you. I can only share my outcome, knowing that stage IIIA is no death sentence. I am looking forward to doing some of those things with my family that I had thought I would put off for 10 years. I now realize that I may not have that many and NOW is the time to do them! A cancer diagnosis can do that for you.


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daisydarlin answered...

Rosana, first I'd like to say that all the responses here are good ones but I'd especially like to commend 'Anonymous' for her upbeat response to your question. I, too, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, opted for a partial mastectomy with chemo and 34 rounds of radiation. I learned too late that because I have CMT, a neurological disorder, and peripheral neuropathy, the chemo exacerbated all my existing problems. I became anemic and neutropenic and spent two months in the hospital recuperating and learning how to walk again. I've had one toe amputated due to a bone infection and have been plagued by several staph infections which have put me at risk for more amputations. A year ago I learned that the chemo had severely damaged my heart and left me with greatly reduced blood flow and congestive heart failure. Still ... I consider myself lucky to be alive, I thank God every day for staying with me and bringing me through this, and if I had to do it over again, I would opt to omit the chemo.


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Stormie answered...

at 58 I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a modified masectomy. I did not want to do the chemo/radiation thing. instead I contacted Dr Linus Pauling in Palo Alto CA. and followed his vitamin C therepy/mega vitamin suggestion. I am now 76 and am still in remission. I have lots of other problems but none related to the cancer. Good luck to you and God bless and be with you. Sincerely, Mary F


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stitchymom answered...

I too was diagnosed with stage III. I do know that as the cancer progresses, there is often a great deal of pain associated with it. I had an agressive course of treatment that required 40 chemotherapies and 7 weeks of radiation. No one can tell you what to do, and I certainly would not know what I would do if the cancer came back for me. I have residual side effects like neuropathy etc. I can tell you this though, if your decision is to avoid treatment remember that life and death are in God's hands. Think though, if you have a loving family, that it is easy to choose not to be treated. The hard part is sticking around for those who be devastated at the loss of you in their lives. When a teenager chooses to end his life and pain, he/she chooses not to think about those who will devestated at the loss of his/her life. If in fact, your choice is strictly a religious one, then those left behind must respect your decision.


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wonder444 answered...

Hello Rosana

I too had stage IIIA breast cancer. (dx at the age of 42, I am now 63) My right breast, underlying muscle and 17 nodes was removed. After the surgery, I gather all reports, test results and slides for a second opinion by the Cancer Center at UCI. Dx was the same. From there I hit the books, talked to a friend who was in the field and then decided how I wanted to live my remaining days. It was easy for me since I am a firm believer it is not how long one lives but the quality of life one will have while they live. Plus I didn't want my family to see me sick from the chemo and all of the other side affects. I rejected the chemo knowing in my heart that was right for me. My doctor respected my choice as did my family. The one thing I do want to say, either way it is going to be a life and death decision. I have never second guessed myself and that is my wish for you. As for how long you will live no one knows for certain. For the first ten years I always thought I would not see the next Christmas. It is like living with a heart disease . . . you can live with it until old age or not. You just stay on top of it and go on the best you can. Having a respectful partnership with my doctors gives me some sense of contol over my life which also helps.

It is easy for me to joke around most of the time, which has worked well for myself. Love watching anything that brings a smile to my face and a chuckle across these lips of mine.

Just know you and only you can make that choice. Just make sure of the choice because it is you and only you that has to live with it. Besides, the older you are when dx the better chance you will have living into your senior years. Rosana, I am sending you hugs and my prayers.


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parensman answered...

Dear Rosana, You didn't say whether or not you had surgery. If you haven't...please do! I had a mastectomy almost 2 years ago for stage IIA breast cancer at age 46. I was amazed at how quickly I recovered and how little discomfort there was from the surgery. I had 4 treatments of A/C followed by 12 treatments of Taxol and 6 weeks of radiation. I don't know how long ago your family members were treated, but I can tell you things have changed...for the better! Yes I lost my hair...but it is only hair! I didn't have to shave my legs or pits and now it is back! I was tired...but I got some great sleep! I had some skin irritations....but now they are gone! I lost some weight....but I needed to! It wasn't a picnic to go thru it...but I would do it again if it meant living. Life is good and I am sure you have many people who love you and will support you! Please think this thru carefully....and check things out. Talk to more people who have been thru this....it isn't so bad. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!!! God be with you in whatever you decide. Pam


parensman answered...

Dear Rosana, You didn't say whether or not you had surgery. If you haven't...please do! I had a mastectomy almost 2 years ago for stage IIA breast cancer at age 46. I was amazed at how quickly I recovered and how little discomfort there was from the surgery. I had 4 treatments of A/C followed by 12 treatments of Taxol and 6 weeks of radiation. I don't know how long ago your family members were treated, but I can tell you things have changed...for the better! Yes I lost my hair...but it is only hair! I didn't have to shave my legs or pits and now it is back! I was tired...but I got some great sleep! I had some skin irritations....but now they are gone! I lost some weight....but I needed to! It wasn't a picnic to go thru it...but I would do it again if it meant living. Life is good and I am sure you have many people who love you and will support you! Please think this thru carefully....and check things out. Talk to more people who have been thru this....it isn't so bad. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!!! God be with you in whatever you decide. Pam


Stilldreamin' answered...

One year ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer,did some chemo and didn't experience any uncomfortable side effects. Also tried hormonal therapy, that was very unpleasant. I just want to feel normal and enjoy life and they want to try a Abraxane now but I'm not sure what to do. I wish I could just make that decision and say no more treatments like you did, but I'm not really sure what to do. It would be easier to make a decision like this if I had some idea how long I could last with or without it.


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derickson answered...

Thank You to Mary F for her wisdom and willingness to share. None of us know for sure how long we will "last", but having the courage to live and to die is a great legacy for all of those who know us. Believe. Like Mary, I chose not to have conventional treatments following surgery and a dx for a rare and fatal cancer, but, by grace, knew that no matter how it turned out (living or dying) it would be okay. I learned of a treatment for the Immune system from the Livingston Clinic in San Diego which included massive doses of intravenous Vitamin C. The year was 1991, and with lots of love and support from family and friends and grace of the Almighty, I am still here; unfortunately, the clinic has since been closed by the state of California. I am thankful it was there when I needed it. I strongly recommend reading Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Bernie Siegel. Blessings, Danielle E.


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stitchymom answered...

I know that there are sometimes when we do not know what is going on with others in the forum. Recently, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. There is no life expectancy period. Attitude has a lot to do with it. If you wait for your life to end, it surely will. My first diagnosis was in May of 08. Now I am re-fighting. The point is that even in 3 years things have changed. There is a new drug that tricks cancer cells into thinking it is food and wham they eat and die. I am being given a fighting chance. Take all you can and run with it. I am living today to get better for tomorrow.


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Mrs. answered...

Bravo to you!!! Like you, I have made the same choice. It is not for anyone to decide but you. I do wish there were a group in which those of us who have decided to go untreated could belong. Glory days are around the corner...nothing here on earth could compare!!! Bless you through this walk!


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silent mama answered...

Dear companions who made the choice to not treat their breastcancer! I respect all choices, but mine was also to not treat it. I was diagnosed with a severe aggressive cancer in january 2007 and my doctor could tell me that probably it was there about 10-12 years...if I had been cautious I would have noticed, but at the time I had no time to be ill because of my partner and father of my son. My son had expressed the will to take care of his father after his coma (2004) no matter how demented he was and to be his companions till the very last end. His father needed permanent assistance and help, my son was a youngster of 20 and studying and no one could expect him to be there all the time, so I was the permanent help anyway. After years of separation, we became a true family again, for now was the time, with no delay, to love and care at the best for each other in whatever ways. Such things we can only do when they have to be done. It was now or never. When our beloved one died in sept.2006, after a very severe decline of all capacities,but also an immense experience of shared love and gratefulness, the mourning was heavy and my heath started to scream for attention. In january the diagnosis was severe, I would have maximum 1 year as the cancer was very aggressive. Everybody will understand that I was not planning to submit my son to another terrible decline! I had only 1 choice: to preparing my son to accept my "departure" as well, spending as much quality- time as possible lovefully, joyfully and meaningfully and in the meanwhile cleaning up all matters of life that would otherwise burden him after. 2 months later a check of the situation shortened my life expectations. I would not make it till the autumn! When even my funeral was arranged, my papers in order for my last will concerning healthcare...we decided for a trip of 10 days meant as a "last vacation" together before my departure. Because of a flebitis I could not fly back...and I stayed 3 months on a mountain in Crete. I came back in bad condition but looking like a flower! Painkillers of all kind started to make my consciousness more numb...and I didn't want that...but the pains and disorders of all kind where severe. But those disorders where partly due to the side-effects of the painkillers and other medicines. So I decided to cut down the medicines...till NONE! We are 2011 now, I adapted my lifestyle, when exhausted I take it calmly, when I have energy I enjoy it! I still return to Crete every once a while for several months (it is cheaper than all my medicines together and the results are amazing!I know I got a BONUS, my son and I are aware that it might not last...but so what! What we have we have...The quality of my life has always been more important to me than the duration... and look what happened! I have still my breasts, no metastasis, I am not taking medicines, and yes the cancer grows visibly and sometimes causes harsh time... disorders of all kind, but I accept, I comfort myself, adapt each time at the demands of my cancer and then "he" leaves me in peace again...and again.I might not have a physical active time, but a very very important healthy spiritual time and I still am able to support and inspire my beloved ones instead of burdening them with excessive care and sorrows. I am 58 and still have the looks of a youngster! Who doesn't know will not suspect anything. That is confusing of course, for my looks are not telling anything about my true condition. So The thing that scares me is that I would overlook the symptoms of the true end nearing, and missing to depart with a proper "goodbye, see you later!".


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Optimist answered...

Dear Rosana,

I read Your story and like You I have deep trust in God alone.l also have breast cancer I have 00 inusurance. My age s 69, I live alone. I watched my mother go through all kinds of treatment,sickness, highs, lows emotionally, and much money, all the sickness and tiredness etc, she survived only to die in that same year due to a careless driver,my mother tried to miss his car and in doing so she hit a tree and died 2 days later of her injuries.....They say dying is relatively easy, it is how we live that is our real true challenge/test. My Mom was afraid to die, She was 68 yrs old. We think we have all the answers and cures for life's problems, however, God is the decider. We as humans still think we are in control of things.....

If I live or die this is not in my hands, just as having chemo, etc.,etc, could not save My Mother, for my Moms death was not to due to cancer, but was caused by another way.

Only God is knower of when we will be born, how our life will be, and the day/ hour of our death and where our soul will go.


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sarche answered...

Gerson therapy and Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski have had great success in curing cancers, including breast cancers. Google for information. Seek their treatment.


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katmd answered...

Dear Rosana,
I admire you for doing what you feel is right for you in dealing with your disease. I have a friend who has chosen to forego treatment for her breast cancer. Her biggest complaint at the moment is a wandering pain, usually in her arms or legs, which is worse on some days more than others. Hospice provides her with pain medication (as well as lots of other support) to keep her fairly comfortable. I am not sure of her staging -- since she is not pursuing treatment, she is no longer told how far the disease has spread. My prayers are with you!


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passiondivastacie answered...

I admire your strength! I stopped listening to other people and started making decisions for myself. I am too vain and too independent to be bald and relying on other people. I'm 42 years old and its been approximately 18 years since the doctors first had concerns for me and wanted to do a biopsy. I even had a doctor tell me that he wouldn't give me birth control or diet pills until I started coming in for regular exams. F*ck cancer! I can get birth control from a clinic and diet pills from the street corner! I REFUSE to do chemotherpy. Call me crazy. I don't care!! I am NOT Jesus! I choose NOT to suffer!! When it's my time I will go. Until then, I am going to make the best of everything. Good Luck and God Bless and YOU GO GIRL!!!! :)


Minime answered...

40 year old furry mom, Stage II something a rather. Suggested treatment mastectomy in a week, followed by chemo. My thoughts, get a bus and tour the country with the fur balls. I should be right, right?


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Rcmc7004 answered...

I am going through chemotherapy, sure it's no walk in the park but it is doable. Like my friend who had it years ago said, it is an 'inconvenience'. She was being stoic, but like I say it is doable. Fear should not be a primary reason for not seeking treatment.


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UK wrens answered...

Yes it is each individuals decision but each person should make that in full light of the facts for their own prognosis. My partners mother initially decided not to have chemo for fear of side effects. A year down the line the breast cancer started affecting her ability to talk and swallow food - both became very painful, I think due to pressure of the tumour on a nerve. So eventually she started chemo, but at a point when the cancer had caused fairly unpleasant impacts on the quality of her life. All I'm saying is make the decision armed with as much info about your own situation. I wish you well with your decisions.


Minime answered...

Thanks for your honest responses. I have seen a family member lose out to leukaemia after 5 years on and off chemo. The oncologist has said now the surgeons don't want to operate without chemo as the tumour is quite large. Apparently the chemo treatment for breast cancer is milder so I am trusting the oncologist with that. The oncologist has rather uncomfortably said that the prognosis is probably 2 years if I do nothing. I guess I have to give chemo a round for 5 months and see where it is at. Youngest fur baby is just coming up for 7 years so I guess a 7 year plan is the go hopefully.


sbalamurugesan answered...

Dear Rosana:

How you live, how long you live, how you die, when you die, are all beyond us. They happen the way they are meant to.

That said, we have every reason and right to fight for what we want. Why don't you fight, just for the heck of it? Won't you be happy if you win against cancer? Imagine how you will feel after that win.

Whatever be your decision (you know enough about cancer, so you can decide without anyone advising you), my prayers are with you.


stitchymom answered...

I have been battling originally stage III cancer for almost 7 years. While I consider myself to be religious, I also know that sometimes God provides answers that we are not always willing to take. There is an old joke about a man on a roof in a flood and he was sent a man in a car, then a boat and later a helicopter. He refused their help saying "God will take care of me." When he arrived at the Pearly Gates he asked God what happened since he was a believer. God said, "I sent you a car, a boat and then a helicopter." You must choose the right path for you, and all must respect it. 3 and 1/2 years ago I was given 2 months to live. I still teach and am in treatments, but I am still here. All roads ultimately lead to home. Be comfortable with your decision, and know that no matter what anyone else has to say you are at peace with it.


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MyReality answered...

I wish these posts were dated, I'd like to know how long ago Rosanna posted. In Jan 2011 I had a breast lump discovered in a yearly mammogram. I researched and listened to several doctors, then made my own choice. Since cancer cells are our own cells which for some reason begin to grow wildly rather than dying when they are old, I did not want to attack my own body. Instead, I chose to remove the lump surgically and then boost my immune system. From the biopsy, we found that my small lump was triple negative, invasive carcinoma with a non-invasive carcinoma below (deeper) it and it was already metastatic because it was in both the blood and lymph system and there was one positive lymph node. I turned down further treatment and the doctors suggested that it would be back in bone, lung, or brain within 6 months.

I researched a book called Anticancer: A New Way of Life but David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD, a brain researcher who lived with recurring brain tumor for 18 years. He had standard treatment but also supported it with immune-supporting diet, psychotherapy for old wounds, meditation and innovative use of spices, fresh foods, and supplements. I chose to use his plan without chemo and radiation because I have lived all my life with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue after a car accident when I was 3 months old. I did not want to have lymphodema or other side effects to complicate my life further. I was 70 when I had the surgery and I am now 74. I had no more pain than I was used to, and had a happy life, writing, drawing and enjoying my family. I began to be very fatigued with little reason but assumed it was more Fibro fatigue. A routine chest x-ray for some hand surgery revealed that I have many masses in all three quadrants of both lungs. the CT scan showed "highly suspicious" of metastatic breast cancer. At this point I refused the lung biopsy because I have no intention of doing the standard treatments for the same reasons as before. I prefer to live the rest of this life in peace, without attacking my body because it is sick. Due to arthritis (I need a knee replacement and the hand surgery for thumbs and wrist joints), fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, I chose to enter an assisted living center where I am quite happy with some company, and the work done for me. I have some lower back pain which the CT scan showed is degerative disc disease in L3 and L4. I have some "sore muscle" type pain in my sides after sitting a long time because there are tumors in the lymph nodes connected to the lungs. They feel like they are pressing out against my ribs. I'd rate it about a 4-5 on the pain scale of 1-10. I have oxygen 24/7 because my levels were dropping. It has improved my energy quite a bit. I still consider my life good. I attend church, I go to lunch with my daughter, I see my granddaughter and her little boys every week. Since the day I knew I first had cancer, I consider that I've never been extremely uncomfortable. I take one Ibuprophin and one tylinol every night at supper which keeps the dull pain down so I can sleep well. My doctor asked me if I discovered brain cancer if I would have brain surgery and I said absolutely not. No more surgery. Not lung or bone or brain, none. So she signed me up with Hospice and said I my prognosis is 6 months. That's what it was 3 years and nine months ago. She looked me in the eye and said I could live 2 years. I think it will be about one more year. There is something to be said for knowing how one will die and approximately when. I still eat very carefully and take supplements to boost my immune system. I will have no more surgery, no more tests. I'm writing my memoir and a book for each of my 11 great grandchildren with the help of one of my granddaughters who is an artist. I enjoy every day, spend about half a day in bed every 4-5 days. I go to bed at 10 pm and get up at 7 am. I'm happy and I'm not "fighting." I am letting go and letting God. What I have chosen is not for everyone but I think it should be a choice available for seniors and others. Google "Doctors Die Differently" an article on what most doctors do when they get cancer. Very enlightening.


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Trish54 answered...

I hope my story helps you - my 70 year old sister hid her breast cancer from everyone until she could no longer take care of herself. We don't exactly the onset of the disease, but 9 months before her death she told me she thought she had been bitten by an insect in her sleep - there was a sore on her breast. She ignored my plea to go to a doctor, and later told me everything was "ok". I noticed her losing weight in the fall. By Thanksgiving this usually highly active, spunky lady had slowed completely. She was nervous and exhausted. At Christmas, she didn't even want to get together. She was depressed and tired all the time - lost her zest for life and had no appetite. Her daughter and I thought she was reacting to some stress and change our whole family was experiencing. We had no idea what was really happening. In winter, she had a head old for a month - lost more weight. Around March I noticed she was smelling of urine and was wearing a Depends. She appeared stooped shouldered and gaunt - brushed us all off giving one excuse or another. Later I would find out the cancer had broken through the skin around December and was steadily growing into tumors and ulcers all over her breast. She the whole bloody mess with sanitary pads in her bra. When I arrived in June to take care of her, she had food in her fridge that had expired in March. Even though she had lost 50 lbs in 6 months, she wasn't eating hardly at all. I talked to her practically every day in the Spring. It was obvious she slept a lot, but she pretended every thing was normal.....except for the panic attacks and incontinence she couldn't hide. When school was out I came to stay with her. At that point, she fell apart - major shortness of breath, couldn't get to the toilet without a walker, lived in her recliner, panic attacks, eating only about 500 calories a day no matter what favorites I cooked daily. I still didn't know about the breast. With my help,she could barely make it to the bathroom where she cleaned herself up. She had stopped showering months before - why, IDK. After cleaning up she would throw her things in the washer. My sister called in a nutritionist who put her in all organic stuff and had her drinking cherry juice with honey, drinking alkaline water, stuff like that. Short lived attempt. Then, we got her on Boost and she was grateful we weren't forcing food down her. By mid June she needed me to help clean her up, so she let me see the breast. I've never seen anything that looked and smelled so bad. I was terrified, but she wouldn't get help. She wouldn't even admit it was cancer. It looked like a huge bloody, rubber mask over her breast with tumors poking out the top. The holistic lady had me putting olive oil and honey on it - that did help with the smell. She got to where she couldn't stand and by the 3rd week if June she was on a bedpan. I'm telling you this because I don't imagine my sis thought not treating her breast cancer would lead to total dependence on someone else to toilet and clean you.....or that that phase would last so long. She kept asking (for like a MONTH, "How much longer?" She stopped eating more than broth, which she usually threw up, continued having panic attacks and shortness if breath....and insomnia and anxiety. On her last day on Earth, she let me call Hospice because I didn't want her in pain. It took her about6 hours to pass away. I have trouble making it through the days right now. If she had just let me help her get through the tough treatments, we might be having Christmas this year. Consider carefully and think about how hour life dill end, in addition to how you are enjoying today. God Bless. You are in my prayers.


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Minime answered...

Hello MyReality and others.

What a crazy ride hey. Much to my oncologists annoyance I couldn't go through with chemo. I couldn't fathom lowering my immunity to get well. I had bilateral masectomy about 12 weeks ago. I did the bilatreal as I had fibroadenoma in left breast 12 years ago and large tumour right breast now. I didn't want to spend the next years with scans all the time. I had a sentinal node biopsy done and one of three nodes positive for cancer. The surgeon wanted to do auxiliary clearance but I refused.

The pressure to do chemo was back on a few weeks after surgery but I have only accepted Zolodex subcutaneous injections and oral Tamoxifin. I wanted to try and get some complimentary diet and health advice but I don't have medical cover to support this so I am trying to make do of my own reading.

I wanted to leave my treatment at surgery but I was made to feel very stupid by the medical profession for choosing this. I have been "mapped" to do radiotherapy starting Oct 2014 and am still uncertain this is the right path for me.

I have an ex partner who wants me to agree to a property settlement to be out of mine and my furr babies home of 20 years and I alternatively feel like I want to get that bus still and move on or dig my heals in and tell this life and God to stop giving me a raw deal.

Thanks for sharing, we are so much more than this stupid disease.


50% helpful
MyReality answered...

Trish54: I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister in such a dreadful way. However, it doesn't sound like your sister had a standard type of invasive carcinoma, it sounds more like Paget's Disease or Metaplastic breast cancer, both super aggressive and rare.

My experience is that I have more pain and fatigue from Fibromyalgia than I have so far from the metastatic cancer. I do have shortness of breath due to the fact the cancer has gone into my lungs and formed masses there. I have some dull ache one my sides above my waist, possibly from either masses also in the lymph nodes in that area, or due to fluid build-up in my lungs. It is NOT severe pain. My doctor doesn't recommend having CTScans, MRI or PETscans since I am committed to refusing treatment, but she does see me once a month and today asked me if I wanted to continue that because somewhere along the way some radiation might make me more comfortable. I said I do want to know all possible treatments but I don't expect to choose them. I try to keep an open mind, but I don't feel that increasing my pain and suffering with extensive and invasive treatment just for ha few more months is the right thing for me. I have a great doctor and we have become friends. I'm writing a memoir about the end of life and how I live as peacefully and comfortably as I can. I'm more interested in quality of time rather than quantity. And I have had almost 4 years since I was given "6 months to live." I believe nobody knows how long we can, not just survive, but live life acceptably with cancer. I intend to find out that answer for MY life and MY Reality. I wish everyone peace and no pain.


100% helpful
Franny51 answered...

Rosana, Honey you are entitled to your choice to or not to have treatment. I understand exactly where your coming from. My maternal and paternal grandparents all passed and suffered through chemotherapy, radiation etc, and went down hill quite quickly afterwards. Losing their battle. :-( My father found out he had cancer when I was in my teens, Im 51 almost 52 (thank god). I'll get there shortly. But anyays my father, I saw suffer from chemotherapy, radiation, he passed. Now let me get to my story, there is light sweetheart at the end of the tunnel. In 2006, I went in the shower and from no where found a huge lump, and yes I take showers daily (lol). But this seemed like it appeared from no where. When I tell you no where, I mean no where. The next morning I called my doctor who had no bedside manners, stuck my boob with a needle and said I need to make a decision now (nice doctor) huh...well hes done. I moved on. Anyways I went to another dr who ordered a sonogram, mamogram it came that the no bedside manner doctor was "right". I had stage III invasive breast cancer. I needed to start treatment asap. Ok my life seemed to be flashing like crazy, thoughts that I never had, feelings that I never felt. My family was totally againt treatment, this was a decision "I" myself had to make. They were thinking like you, all I heard look what that chemotherapy sh*t did to your father, look what it did to your grandmother etc. My mother was totally against it, after her only sister had breast cancer at the age of 43, and passed in my parents house. I was diagnosed at age 43. My mother stated the doctors were at fault for my fathers death (denial is what it was). The doctors can do so much,their "not" miracle workers, you have to want to fight and want to win the battle. So, I went to the doctor my father went too. I went through a year and a half of chemotherapy, another year of herceptin treatment,( herceptin is a treatment given to breast cancer patients ) it's just like chemotherapy given approximately 2 hours each visit through intravenous.....six weeks of radiation, five days a week including holidays, and a two and a half hour surgery. You name it I've been there. I have had the attitude from day one I'm going to win this battle, that this was one battle that I refuse to lose. I would sing the song by Reba Macntire " I'm a survivor". And honey thank the good lord above. I will be a nine year invasive breast cancer ( stage III ) survivor this coming February. When I was told I had a 50/50 chance with the cancer recurring in 5 years. I looked the doctors in the face and said I have the same chance as everyone else then. Life is a 50/50 chance. The doctors still say that I am their " poster child "....." god is good".....What Im saying honestly honey, with treatments nowadays, like I said I had chemotherapy, herceptin, radiation and NEVER once got sick. Onetime through all this, I had a metallic taste in my mouth from the chemotherapy. I ate yogurt, and it was gone. I mean I NEVER had any side effects at all. To this day, I tell my mother, the same doctor who you claimed didnt do everything for my father, saved your daughter. Honey, If you need me . I will love to give you my email and we can chat away anytime. Good luck sweetie and never give up on what we experienced with the death of our loved ones.With all the new treatment and technology today treatments get better by the day. My doctors asked me to speak to breast cancer patients, and everytime I see a post like this, I would love to help try to save someone else's life. Together we can be SURVIVORS....I know .....( personally)invasive stage III didnt take me and it's been almost nine years in February. Keep the faith and never ever give up hope. Together we can make a difference. God bless you ! <3


heartbroken&confused answered...

Hi, I do not have breast cancer however my 37 year old cousin who I look at as a sister does! She has 3 children under the age of 16 and 1 over 18. My family is having a hard time dealing with her decision to refuse treatment because she is standing on her faith. She is in the hospital right now as I type this post. She was having a very hard time breathing and almost fainted at work so her coworkers called 911. We managed to convince her to go to the hospital if not for the cancer at least the shortness of breathe. They found fluid in her right lung & she has pneumonia. The cancer is spreading to her lungs & bones. She's still refusing treatment. Our grandmother fought this same fight & went down a very similar road. The cancer took our grandmother in 3 months. We are praying the end result is different. I failed to mention my 3 year old daughter has a very close & special relationship with my cousin so this has been extremely hard on not just me & my family but all the children involved. I understand & respect standing on faith but with all the new technology & advancement why can't faith have some assistance??? And when a person stands on faith do they consider everyone & everything when they make this decision?? My cousin & I do not see eye to eye. We both watched how this affected our grandmother & my cousin has so much more life at 37 then my grandmother did at 70. I am so hurt, angry & confused. I know my cousin's faith is different then mine but I wonder does her faith consider all the people who are hurting from her decision.


Lolis answered...

Hi, I was diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer in March 2014. I am 33 and went through radical mastectomy, chemo, radiation and on hormone therapy right now. Chemo wasn't so bad, I was able to work thru the treatments (although from home) and walk my dog twice a day. Radiation tired me more than anything (5 weeks of radiation). The choice is yours but I just wanted to let you know that treatments are not so bad, if you don't want to go thru chemo or radiation, surgery is definitely a breeze. Good luck!!!


heartbroken&confused answered...

Hi, Thank You for your response. My cousin fought the battle but didn't win the war. She left us on November 13, 2014. My heart has been broken to pieces. She made a decision & I have been trying to accept it. It truly is Hard!! I wish you an abundance of strength & pray for your continued recovery!!!


ms fox answered...

I just watched my mother die from breast cancer after 5 years of aggressive treatment and think you're doing the best avoiding it.I would recommend 60 drops daily maitake mushroom fraction d,eating pineapple,berries,spinach,Indian curries as I've seen people in Asia and the health food store in US live 20 years with stage 4 and just that.Mom ate fast food bacon and listened to drs.


hopeforcancer4 answered...

Check the recovered cancer patients testimonies at Charlotte Gerson's 85th birthday to see there is plenty of hope for cure for al types of cancers with safe and effective Gerson Therapy by using organic veggies and fruit juices to reverse cancer and detosifying the body.


Gina bhe answered...

My name is Gina
I'm 43 years old and diagnose breast cancer, last month I undergo mastectomy , and my doctors told me need to undergo chemo n radiation, my ear- is 80% positive n my pr-80% positive, my her2 neu is negative0 n the rest cell n my breast is 20% negative. With all this caculation that the phatology given to me and doctor explain to me. Only one thing I can understand of medical treatments n to undergo chemo n radiation your life is only extendable no matter what doctor gives u to longer your life, bad effect of Chemo, good result of chemo., because of chemo u are alive, because of chemo u die. What matters we make decision n our body, our full decion of full family which love us we all want to live longer not because cancer make us scared, n paranoid, strong person also. The common denomination of all this treatments is just to shorten or longer your life, same thing if we will not do the treatments of chemo just take out the breast totally, and see what hAppen same result short And longer time u can get a result. Only differnt is less expense, start eat healthy food, avoid too much of thinking about your sickness, be positive always, enjoy your life with your love one and thank god to eAch n every day that you see his creation n this earth n be happy. I ask my phatology n. Doctor one strain answer from them- do u assure this cancer cell will not come back? Do you assure that after all the threatment I will live longer life like I'm 43 now n I can have 40 more years to enjoy my life after all threatments? Doctor answers honesty we r not a God know the life span of the person, we cannot assure to that , we r doctors who can do things for science n life we don't give assurance of life but we give hopes to extend life of a person due to medical science posive or negative result of treatment is based of the body of a person how he will cArry his life after threatments. With this answer of my doctor I decided not to undergo the threatment coz i got the answer already God is the only one who will take away your life no one else.

Stay happy eat good food and be positive and keep praying to God no matter what he will be in your side no matter your decision n life. Good luck to all of as mark this date that wheTher we do the threatment or not I hope in ten years time same names I will be seeing n this column and rejoice we are all in the same page of life coz God is with us .

Good luck waiting for u after 10 years time from now on keep in touch to each other my email address is ginabongalos@yAhoo.com

Smile :) :) and love u all as God love us always - gina


Maryxxx answered...

Not one of you mentioned not having medical insurance. Not having insurance means not having a doctor to begin with. Plus, not having a husband or kids, the decision gets easier.


Mindovermatter answered...

Of course it is a person's and only the person who has been diagnosed with the cancer to decide what treatments and if any at all they want. It is no ones right to interfere with anyones body. What is important, I believe when a person is challenged with making a decision whether or not to undergo treatment is having the support of your family or someone closed to you. Without that no matter what you decide you cannot succeed. Cancer, I believe is somewhat mind over matter and with a positive attitude and love of your family or friends you can beat it somehow with or without treatment.


Thirunarayanan answered...

Rosana, I am a man. I do not know how a woman's mind thinks or her emotions. Nor am I a doctor, as one of the first commentors, Dr. Tobin, is. So, you may think I have no business commenting on your breast-cancer situation. My two cents...

If you can, opt for the treatment. Stage III is definitely better than IV & V. As others have eloquently shared their experiences, I am sure it will be a difficult time for you during the treatment. But the reward is worth it. You can smell the roses, as the saying goes.

I am heartened to see that you have already taken the first step in battling your breast-cancer, namely discussing with others. There is a saying something like "Happiness shared is twice the joy, sadness shared is half the burden".

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!!!


mapat answered...

"People who refused treatment lived for an average of 12-1/2 years. Those who accepted other kinds of treatment lived an average of only 3 years. http://www.rethinkingcancer.org/resources/magazine-articles/8_11-12/the-untreated-live-longer.php


tperez answered...

Hi Rosana, while its nice everybody seems to support your decision, I disagree. You said yourself you have no family, you lost your mom, dad, sister and even your pet. Have you really dealt with such great loss? You even said there is a better life, referring to life after death, which is true, I believe in Heave too, but only a person who feels this life is not worth living would want so easily let go of this one without a fight. Answer this: if your family were still alive, would you even be considering not getting treated?