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Has anyone opted not to receive treatment when diagnosed with breast cancer?

By Anonymous January 22, 2009 - 8:59pm
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Has anyone been diagnosed with breast cancer and decided not to receive treatment? Or do you know of someone who chose this, but has since passed?
I am just wondering if the "quality of life" is worse with the treatment than if you would just live with the cancer until you die? The side effects of the treatments sound so awful that I wonder if the side effects of the disease are worse? I am probably going to die either way anyway because of the cancer, I just want to suffer the least and enjoy what time I have left the most.
Any comments either way would be appreciated.

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I had BC 10 years ago and had 6 months of chemo. and 38 treatments of radiation plus a mastectomy and I am still kicking, I saw my grandson born the day before surgery and now 10 years later I get to see him play soccor, so yes it was worth the year of treatments and all the days of being in bed. Unless you are over 70, I would go for it. I was 52 at the time. I have had 10 wonderful years and still going. God Bless and keep fighting.

February 20, 2009 - 5:49pm

Anon, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I hope breast cancer patients, families or friends will answer your question through their eyes and give you some of the answers you're seeking.

Is there a reason that you believe you won't survive the disease? Was it a recent diagnosis, or was it given by a doctor who was pessimistic about your chances? If so, I'd say -- and I know I'm not alone in this -- that you should absolutely seek another opinion, if not another doctor altogether.

Breast cancers are more and more curable all the time; the weapons that they have to throw at the disease are wide-ranging and potent, and there's a very high chance of a cure. Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can be rugged, but remember, they are usually only for a period of time.

Here's one page that talks about the desire to opt out of breast cancer treatment:


And here's a story that ran on ABC News on the same thing, featuring a breast oncologist:


Do you have people who are dear to you who you can talk to about this? What has been their reaction?

Are there any other issues that are going on for you right now? Do you have access to health care? I surely hope you are not trying to juggle the needs of your treatment with financial worries over health care, because I know that can be devastating.

If you are primarily worried about the side effects, you might want to explore a place like the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, who emphasize their whole-person approach to fighting the disease:


It sounds like you are an extraordinarily thoughtful person who might be a little short of hope right now. Please tell us a little more about what's going on, and let's see if we can find you even more information.

January 23, 2009 - 10:13am
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