I am a 2 time cancer survivor. Neither time did I have chemotherapy or radiation due to the odds with each.
The first cancer was Uterine/Ovarian I had a total Hysterectomy and oophorectomy, in layman's terms they removed my Uterus and ovaries.
I did not receive any Radiation or Chemotherapy, it was offered to me however I refused as the odds of either one of them killing me were higher than them helping me.
I have been free from that cancer for 17 years.
One year later I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma & told that I had 18months to live. I was directed to get my affairs in order, find someone to raise my son & start Chemotherapy. My Son was 3 years old at the time.
I went and got 3 different opinions all of them gave me a 60% chance of Chemotherapy killing me.
I didn't take it. Instead, I am a Christian, I went to God. I got down on my knees and asked that he take the cancer away from me. When one prays for healing & chooses an alternative method to cure something like cancer, Doctors tend to fly off the handle ;-)
As a Team Leader of a LIVESTRONG Army, a grassroots program of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, I decided this is MY life & I WILL Have it MY WAY!(taken from the Manifesto of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
I apologize for straying a bit but I felt that if you knew where I was "coming from" it would be much easier to understand my reasoning behind what I have to say.
Is it selfish to the family for a person to decide not to be treated for cancer.
No! It is a persons right to have their life, just that ... THEIR LIFE. Whether it be short or long, ultimately we have no control over when our "time" is.
More families than not want their loved one to stay with them for as long as possible and may feel slighted that a person decides they don't want to be ill, burnt and possibly die from a treatment designed to possibly help the cancer go into remission.
Ours is not the only organization out here to support recently diagnosed cancer patients, their family & friends as well as survivors. Most of which have a mentality of allowing the patient to make decisions that they are comfortable with and helping the family cope with those decisions.
This also brings into light the need for many legal documents. Things like Power of Attorney, Living wills, DNR's as well as assigning a Patient Health Advocate with durable powers of attorney for health care.
Here are some better definitions of what I refer to above.
"In some jurisdictions, a Durable Power of attorney can also be a Health Care Power of Attorney", an advance directive which empowers the attorney-in-fact (proxy) to make health-care decisions for the granter, up to and including terminating care and ending life supports that are keeping a critically and terminally ill patient alive. Health care decisions include the power to consent, refuse consent or withdraw consent to any type of medical care, treatment, service or procedure.
DNR or Do Not Resuscitate order, this one basically speaks for itself but for those of you who would like it simplified; when a person signs a DNR it means that if their heart should stop and they should stop breathing they do not want brought back. This is a personal choice and needs to be made by the person who is terminally ill. Under most state laws the person in question must still be of sound mind.
A living will is a written statement of a person's health care and medical wishes but does not appoint another person to make health care decisions.
New York State has enacted a Health Care Proxy law that requires a separate document be prepared appointing one as your health care agent" ~ My attorney
The latter varies from State to State and all of the above should be done through your attorney. However, there are many cancer non-profits who will help you so your paperwork is in order. Most Doctors offices, Hospitals and Cancer centers can help you with these forms.
I hope I have helped in some small way.
At the end of the day any cancer victim or terminally ill person had the right to decline any treatment they wish. It is not selfish ... it is THEIR life.
Please visit LIVESTRONG.org for help if you are in need, or would like to get involved.