My mom had an in-situ mass removed and we're reluctant for her to do radiation therapy. Thoughts?

8 answers | Last updated: Nov 21, 2016
Kkkd asked...

My 87 year old mother who has excellent health had 1.77 in-situ mass removed, no lymph gland involvement. Her children want to avoid radiation therapy because of side affects. We want her to live to 115 but have her energy and health. Any thoughts?


Expert Answers

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

The most important point is to discuss these ideas with your mother to see what her priorities and goals of care are.  For many people, the balance between quality of life with length of life is important to think about and discuss.  As people age, their health and energy deteriorate slowly or quickly, depending on the person. 

Each person has different ideas on how to use the rest of his or her life.  It is important to discuss this with your mother.

  The answer to your question depends on the type of cancer it is but with no lymph node involvement, the need for radiation is less likely with some types of cancer.  The side effects of radiation depend on what is radiated but for many sites of radiation, the major side effect is fatigue that will improve with rest and time.

My main suggestion though is to discuss your mother’s wishes with her.  That is also a good time to ask about whether your mother would want to live on a breathing machine or to have resuscitation attempted on her if she were close to death.
 


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Remember the treatment kills good cells as well. Very hard on the body. My sister had breast cancer and lost a breast and went through with the treatment. 5 years later cancer free so we thought it came back as liver cancer huge tumor. Don't understand how the doctors missed it. She went through a year & half suffering with treatment gave up tried natural healing. It was too late. She was too weak from the treatments that damage her body. It spread throughout her body causing her to be in bed with high dosage of pain killers the last 6 months of her life. Look into natural healers as it saved my mom's cousin who had colan cancer. She did the natural treatment because she watched her husband with the same cancer go through treatment who suffered & died.


Dollvintage answered...

I think the doctor is correct when it comes to what kind of cancer your Mother has because every location has different metatatic reactions.
My Mother was diagnosed with a large stage I lung cancer tumor (non-smoker) which had no lymph node interacttion. The protocol for this cancer was to remove the lung lobe (due to size). Mom is 85. I thought lung removal was drastic for an elderly woman so I pursued alternatives. After consulting a renouned lung cancer doctor, we chose radiation (39 days for 10 minutes) over surgery. The discussion being quality of life not quantity of life.
The result was the tumor changed characteristics but was still present. Then we found cyberknife which allowed for targeted radiation but was only 3 days at 1 1/2 hours each treatment. The result was the tumor was reduced by 2/3rds... So for now we are watchfully waiting. Radiation fatique can be counteracted with B vitamins and rest, be watchful of anemia. The down side is "radiation fog" to the mind but it seems to improve over time. My point is look at all your options including vitamins and supplements. Best wishes DV


Gabriel answered...

Ask about stereo-tactic radiation surgery. This treatment only irradiates very targeted areas.


Subee answered...

When will people realize that Doctors are practicing medicine and are not experts. If I were 87 I would not want the radiation. In fact I refused chemo and radiation 2 months ago. All of the people I know who have had cancer, died from the treatment not the cancer. If I die, I want it to be with my full faculities. Medicine is poison and it is a caculated gamble as to whether it kills you or ths cancer first. Cancer is being cured, look at some of the Natural means. I trust my God, by his strips I am healed.


Greendeere40 answered...

Get a second or third opinion for peace of mind. I was diagnosed almost a year ago with colon cancer. The tumor was completely removed and one lypmh node showed cancer. All other nodes that were removed, only one showed a problem. That node was next to the tumor. I have been watching my diet, alternative supplementation and exercising. I have been more alert, stronger and have had regular check ups which the doctors have agreed that I am doing excellent. Hopefully this will continue as I have learn more by reading and researching more alternatives to keep this body healthy. Sometimes a little prayer may also help. Good luck to those that may not want to go through these deadly treatments. God bless.


Jade1961 answered...

As a cancer survivor and the leader of the Erie County Cancer Killers a LIVESTRONG Army, part of The Lance Armstrong Foundation & a 20yr medically retired Physician Assistant certified in 3 states; I can only address 2 things. The first is what does your Mom want? Does she want to live to 115yrs of age. The second is have you had more than one opinion? As a part of Team LIVESTRONG we advocate as many opinions as you want. It never hurts to have 2,3 or even 4 Doctors evaluate the situation.

I do feel that the Doctors comment on end of life is very relevant, at the end of it all, as cancer will play a role in the end of your Mom's life, does she want resuscitated? If not she needs a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate. Does she want to be kept alive on machines? If not she needs a Living Will. This gives Doctors permission to "pull the plug" so to speak should she reach a point of 0 quality and little chance at a quality life after the fact.

I know & realize that these are things that as Adult children we don't want to have to look at. But, in the end and even now it is your Mom's choice, she has the right to live her life her way and on her terms. Please checkout http://www.livestrong.org/ there are people available to talk to you there an a toll free number where you can find an army in your area to help you with things like Hospice should it become necessary. I hope I have helped in some small way. LIVESTRONG!


Jade1961 answered...

As a cancer survivor and the leader of the Erie County Cancer Killers a LIVESTRONG Army, part of The Lance Armstrong Foundation & a 20yr medically retired Physician Assistant certified in 3 states; I can only address 2 things. The first is what does your Mom want? Does she want to live to 115yrs of age. The second is have you had more than one opinion? As a part of Team LIVESTRONG we advocate as many opinions as you want. It never hurts to have 2,3 or even 4 Doctors evaluate the situation.

I do feel that the Doctors comment on end of life is very relevant, at the end of it all, as cancer will play a role in the end of your Mom's life, does she want resuscitated? If not she needs a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate. Does she want to be kept alive on machines? If not she needs a Living Will. This gives Doctors permission to "pull the plug" so to speak should she reach a point of 0 quality and little chance at a quality life after the fact.

I know & realize that these are things that as Adult children we don't want to have to look at. But, in the end and even now it is your Mom's choice, she has the right to live her life her way and on her terms. Please checkout http://www.livestrong.org/ there are people available to talk to you there an a toll free number where you can find an army in your area to help you with things like Hospice should it become necessary. I hope I have helped in some small way. LIVESTRONG!