How necessary is it to treat cancer?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 14, 2016
Oldman asked...

When I refused treatment for cancer I was made to feel I was commiting suicide  There seems to be no information on survival of people who don't have treatment.  I asked the cancer research centre and they said they do research, but had no information.  Neighbours, relations and friends have died soon after cancer treatment during the last year.  I am a active 78 year-old.  Six years after my biopsy results I have had scans that show the cancer is still active but has not spread.  Is this just chance?  My docter cannot answer me.


Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Refusing cancer treatment is tricky. It depends on the type of cancer and how aggressive the cancer is as well as what, if any, treatment options exist as to whether it is a good idea to refuse treatment.

If after 6 years your cancer has not spread, it is likely chance and would not necessarily happen again.  There are times when refusing treatment can be the right choice but the decision should be made after discussions with your doctor.


Community Answers

Octoman answered...

Well Andrew I did consult a surgeon He convinced me to have treatment.which consisted of keyhole surgury,just remove the cancer small insision and up playing golf in the minimum of time.But when being wheeled into the operating theatre I discovered he was going to remove most of my stomach with a huge scar he failed convince me,to have it done Then a week later a scan arrived and showed my cancer had spread to my liver and kidney's he even said I was lucky I refused the surgery.As it was no longer appropriate RIP. A Keyhole surgeon or a Keystone cop? Watch out!there are dodgy surgeons about.
It is 7 years now.,It still haunts me.how lucky can you get?


Jade1961 answered...

Dear "Oldman" I too refused treatment for Multiple Myeloma when my odds of it helping were 40% and the odds of it killing me were 60%. I have been in spontaneous remission, through prayer, for 10yrs now.

In the end, as a leader of a LIVESTRONGâ„¢ Army, I will leave you with this.

The Manifesto of the Lance Armstrong Foundation

We believe in life. Your life. We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being. And that you must not let cancer take control of it. We believe in energy: channeled and fierce. We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong. Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything. This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

We kick in the moment you're diagnosed. We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage. We believe in your right to live without pain. We believe in information. Not pity. And in straight, open talk about cancer. With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with. This is no time to pull punches. You're in the fight of your life. We're about the hard stuff. Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion. And a third, or a fourth, if that's what it takes. We're about getting smart about clinical trials. And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends. It's your life. You will have it your way.

We're about the practical stuff. Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers. It's knowing your rights. It's your life. Take no prisoners.

We're about the fight. We're your champion on Capitol Hill. Your advocate with the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs. And we know the fight never ends. Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life. This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Founded and inspired by one of the toughest cancer survivors on the planet. LIVESTRONGâ„¢


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