Positive news for older breast cancer patients 34



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If you or a friend have battled through breast cancer, you’ll know that dealing with radiotherapy and the side effects that come with it can be one of the most difficult parts. But there is some positive and a little controversial, news for older women as researchers suggest that older women fighting breast cancer could safely avoid radiotherapy without reducing their chances of survival.

The University of Edinburgh is home to the study that tested 1,226 patients who were aged 65 and over with early-stage breast cancer. At this point, the tumours had been removed and there was no detectable spread of the cancer to any other part of the body.

What the researchers found was that the older patients who had already had the surgery hormone therapy and who were low risk of reoccurrence gain very “modest” benefit from the addition of radiation treatment.

This means that the horrible side effects of radiotherapy like fatigue, heart damage and appetite loss can be avoided leading to a better quality of life for the patient.

Regardless of what age we are, quality of life is the most important part of any battle and if there is a chance we can have improved quality of life, it’s a positive step in a positive direction. But deciding on whether to risk that minor chance of reoccurrence is a big risk in itself…

Tell us, would you make the decision to stop radiation if you know your quality of life would be better without it? 

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  1. I had a mastectomy and the surgery hormone treatment but no radiation at a younger age. I have returned to work and enjoy a healthy life. One of the lucky ones. Depends very much on surgery and pathology results. Each person is a individual. Weigh up all the factors.

  2. I went through breast cancer last year the took part of my breast after radiation I suffered awful burns six months on the skin on my breast is still peeling and sore it’s not a nice thing but glad I did all is ok no cancer but I have one small boob and one small one he he

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  3. Being a surviver myself,having all the above ,I was told to go home and think of only Quality of life,I said hey I want both,so far so good 21years on 21st July.positive thinking is my motto for everyone never give up hope ,have a great day everyone

  4. Today is my last radiotherapy treatment and I can’t wait for the day to be over with. The side effects creep up on you – my breast looks and feels like a sunburnt rock melon; the top of my ribcage hurts when I cough; my nipple is in a constant state of extreme ‘sensitivity’ and I’m bloody tired! Now I have to start hormone therapy – who knows what ‘joys’ that will bring!

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    • Not fun hey. 🙂 the tablets have caused me to speak my mind which isn’t always in a good situation. You will be ok, trust me, I am a couple of months further down the track than you. 🙂

    • Oh Lord, don’t tell me that Debbie. There are people who would already think I have too much to say for myself! Haha. They have asked me to participate in a clinical trial called ‘STARS’ – a study of Anastrozole and radiotherapy sequencing for post-menopausal women. I said I would give it a go but am a bit wary of the side effects of hormone therapy.

    • It is 3 months since I finished my radiation. So far the hormone tablets (2 months) haven’t done anything bad to me. I am not sorry I had the lumpectomy and radiation and would chosse it again over a mastectomy. I am still very tired but the burning cleared up in a couple of weeks after I finished the radiation. Good luck and stay positive Sue.

    • I had a double mastectomy nearly five years ago then had chemo and put on the hormone treatment for 5 yrs .I have 1 yeat to go .I have always had a very positive attitude but the side affects of this tablet really test me and don’t always give me quality of life .

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      • Same here Gonny, I had double Masectomy in 2011 chemo and radiation also. Now battling with the hormone tablets. So many side effects. Insomnia being the main one. Just feel so bloody old some days. I am 64 and work a couple of days a week.

    • My first cancer Endometrium Cancer I agreed to the LACE trial. anything I can do to help with a cure and better surgical ways. This time I am helping in the media getting the message out for early detection. We can do it !!! In your face cancer !!!!!!

    • All you ladies have a brilliant attitude. Keep it up and try and see the black humour in some of your situations. Very hard some days I know (from personal experience). Kick its butt!

    • Hi I had terrible burns and got hit on the nipple too I used moo goo udder cream on my nipple and it soothed it a lot it is made in tweed heads and Peter Mac put me on to it you can purchase it online or there website has the places you can buy it so good luck I know what your going through still six months since my last treatment still sore look after yourself

  5. Being a survived of 22yrs , I was told to go and enjoy every minute of life because I had recurring cancer .i had a wonderful life with family and friends wouldn’t change a thing . Dont hold on to stress let it go and always be positive about life .!

  6. I had both chemo and radiation. I wish I had not have chemo which was a nightmare and damaged my heart, so it had to be stopped at the 3rd treatment. Radiation was a breeze, but I always knew that I was cancer free after the operation 🙁

  7. I have already made up my mind that no matter where the “Big C” is, I will only have the operation necessary to remove the tumour, and no other treatment. I have had too many family members whose quality of life has been seriously affected by the chemo and radiation, and they have not survived any longer because of it.

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    • From my own experience I would recommend to have radiation I had an aggressive Breast cancer had surgery, chemo and radiation and although the side effects were not pleasant they were bearable and after 5 years I am still here and my quality of life is forever improving

  8. Good luck to all you wonderful ladies, I hope you all continue to enjoy good health & a happy life!!!

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