Any info ..Breast cancer diagnosed at 92

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Sweet, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    My lovely mum, aged 92 with vascular dementia, in a CH for 18 months has a large lump on her breast. She weighs about 6 1/2 stone.

    She's had a diagnosis of cancer today. The treatment is a prescribed hormonal pill taken each day to shrink the lump and she may suffer side effects. Mum's dementia is where she wouldnt understand any of this, so I haven't told her.

    Mum fortunately has had a very healthy life until dementia 3 yrs ago and now at 92, cancer.

    I'm wondering if there's any TP people who have had any experience of cancer at this late stage in life .. Or this treatment... I just wonder how it might go!

  2. Anongirl

    Anongirl Registered User

    Aug 8, 2012
    Hi Sweet. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum x

    Someone with experience will be along soon but I was told (by a doctor friend) that cancer usually grows much slower in older age.

    I can only imagine what I would do in your shoes but I think for me if my mum was in pain then I would do all I could to stop that pain but I'm not sure if I would want her to go through treatment that could cause her side effects or discomfort, especially if there wasn't to be much benefit.

    I feel for you because trying to make a serious decision on someone's behalf is so very difficult xxx
  3. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Hello. My aunt, in early late 80s, had a similar issue and similar treatment. Last I talked with her, she was doing well enough, but she had a fall a few months ago, and I realize I haven't called her in awhile. I'll do that soon and come back here and tell you how things are going. Cancer can arise at any age, but it is more likely as we age, I have learned. I'm sorry. Your mother is lucky you are there to help her along this last passage.
  4. VickyG

    VickyG Registered User

    Feb 6, 2013
    Hi Sweet

    Sorry to hear about your Mum, but maybe sometimes are best left untouched ? Make her pain free and comfy, but don't put her through treatment that is going to make her feel unwell. Treatment and understanding for someone without Dementia and at any age is hard.
    I have looked after Dementia sufferers in my former job where they had cancer of some form or another. Most family did not want to put their loved ones through any treatment, feeling it was best, especially with their Dementia. Sometimes it's about having what time's left as quality time. I do understand and totally empathise with those that would want to proceed with treatment, after all, we don't want to lose our loved ones, or let go......... tough call really.

    Take care x
  5. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    My Mu, 87, blind, dementia etc is now covered with secondary melanoma cysts. I have discussed her situation with the Doctors and we have decided that she will only received palliative care with pain relief as necessary.
    She has very little enjoyment of life now and has, when asked, chosen to not have any pro-active treatment.

    At this stage of her life we have chosen quality not quantity.
  6. Wirralson

    Wirralson Account Closed

    May 30, 2012
    Hi Sweet,

    Saddened to hear about your experiences. My late mother had two episodes of breast cancer prior to her diagnosis of dementia (around 15 years ago for the first one). She subseuqently developed further symptoms of cancer shorly before the end of her life, but when she saw the oncologist, we were advised there was nothing more they could do. It wasn't even possible to perform a biopsy due to tissue damage. In the event, my mother died a few days later.

    But much depends on what kind of cancer it is, the prognosis and treatment. If the requirement is for invasive surgery or radiotherapy or chemotherapy, then you have a different set of decisions as compared with other medication options. But I feel strongly that the fact of having dementia shouldn't rule someone out of having cancer treatment, and their wishes (if known or ascertainable) can be taken into account. I'd suggest (as others do) asking what the options are, and then trying to work out (with your knowledge of your mum) what you think she she would want and what you and others you regard as important would want for her. That's really all anyone can do.

    Best wishes

  7. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    Thank you for your replies.
    Mum doesn't seem to be in any pain at the moment. The Dr said if the lump is not treated it will continue to grow through the skin and would be pretty unpleasant. So she will start this course to shrink the lump... Will see how goes, she barely eats anything .

  8. Anongirl

    Anongirl Registered User

    Aug 8, 2012
    Hi Sweet. I thought of you today. The care home told me that a nodule has been found on a CT scan she had a few weeks ago. They want her to have a chest x-ray.

    The home don't think she will cope with it but it's up to me.

    I hope your mum copes with her treatment ok xxx
  9. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    Thank youfor thinking of me Anongirl.. That's what's so nice about this forum!

    I'm sorry to hear you also have problems with this too. It's pretty difficult seeing people you love going through such horrible things... and I sincerely hope things aren't too horrible for you.

    My mum had an ambulance called to the CH this morning as she was very poorly in the night. She has a chest infection and urine infection on top of everything. She started the cancer treatment today, which is just taking one pill per day to shrink the tumour. Generally, at 92, I can see a big deterioration. I've sat with her today and just held her hand. Mixed emotions of wishing she was at peace and free, to thinking I can't imagine her not being here.. It is what life is. Love her to bits .. She's always been there for me...
  10. ASH74

    ASH74 Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    My FIL (90) was until 3 years ago very healthy. He then had a terrible phase with lots of UTI's and other complications (he was under 7 consultants at one point) including a skin cancer on the ear.

    The cancer team were amazing.....they spoke with us as well as FIL ......and always said his dementia did not exclude him from treatment. They supported him and he went through 20 doses of radiotherapy without a hitch ( I was terrified how he would react!).

    My reason for sharing the story is that I was amazed how well FIL coped .......sometimes they can surprise you.

    All the best for you Mum.....sending you kind thoughts at this difficult time.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  11. Anongirl

    Anongirl Registered User

    Aug 8, 2012
    My mum is 67 yet her dementia has deteriorated so much in the past year that her condition has overtaken some of the ladies in the home that are 30 years older than she is. I find that very hard to take. I often think I can't imagine losing her, we've always been close too.

    I'm sorry your mum is having such a rough time. Infections can have a devastating effect, when mum has a UTI she goes downhill so fast but bounces back usually quite quickly after antibiotics. There are some nasty chest infections around at the moment. I hope your mum is feeling stronger soon xxx

    I have spoken to the CH and also my brother about mum having a chest x-ray and we do agree that she wouldn't stand still long enough, she wouldn't understand and if it turned out to be something horrible I wouldn't want her to go through any trauma caused by the treatment. It could turn out to be nothing. While she is contented I think I will let her be. She is deteriorating so quickly now. I don't think I could put her through it.

    Tough times eh x
  12. secondtimeround

    secondtimeround Registered User

    Sep 1, 2014
    My stepmother also had vascular dementia and then was found to have breast cancer at 88. I discussed it with the doc and we agreed not to put her through biopsies etc and she was prescribed Tamoxifen (I think - it was a while ago). The care home staff had to explain to her every morning what it was for, which was distressing for her, so I asked them to stop. I don't think she was in pain from the cancer, and she died as a result of the progress of the dementia.

    Tough decisions.......
  13. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I know it's neither here nor there now, but why did they have to tell her what it was for? Surely kinder to say it was vitamins or a blood pressure pill or something. Did they have some unbending rule about telling the truth regardless of whether it caused distress? Do care home staff usually explain to residents what all their medication - often several items - is for?
  14. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    i agree.. I haven't told my mum she has cancer... and taking her to the hospital I said was just a general check up for her...
  15. Wirralson

    Wirralson Account Closed

    May 30, 2012
    Good question. In my mother's case the time from (re)diagnosis to her death was a few days so it wasn't really an issue. My father was undecided whether she should be told or not as was the clinical team. She had a kind of dealyed action partial short term memory for some things and when she remembered she had previously had cancer she then denied ever having had it. In the event she was hospitalised the evening of the day of diagnosis with a recurrence of the cancer and was more or less uncomprehending from then on. Ultimately I suspect it depends on circumstances: what kind of reaction is the person likely to have? Would they have wanted to be told? The oncologist, GP and Nursing Home explained that "usually" they told people once - a recognition of their rights as individuals and the Mental Capacity Act but thereafter would only confirm it of the patient asked. That seems to me to be a reasonable default starting position, but everybody will differ.

  16. magic800

    magic800 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2014
    My Aunt is 85 she takes Tamoxifen 20mg, they said her cancer could not be treated she was diagnosed 5 years ago. I have seen the cancer shrink with the medication hers was close to breaking through the skin but the redness has also gone. The oncologist keeps a regular check on her. She is also on a pain relief patch as well as other medication due to other health issues. She understands that she has cancer as this was diagnosed before the dementia. Hope this helps.
  17. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    Thank you for all your comments and help.

    Sadly mum passed away 4 days ago. She got a chest infection and a UTI..she was talking and awake then having these infections suddenly went down hill in a week. Breast cancer had been diagnosed at the beginning of January, which would have added to things as I'm not sure really how long she'd had it.

    From hating dementia and glad she is at peace, often wishing things were over, I wish I could have had some more days with her. Seemed like 3 and half years of anguish.. ...then suddenly all ended. Love my mum so much xx
  18. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    So sad to read that you have lost your lovely mum. I so recognise that turmoil of mixed feelings that you describe. Sending you my sympathy and wishing you peace in the days ahead.
  19. bunnies

    bunnies Registered User

    May 16, 2010
    I've described this experience on another thread - my relative had a breast cancer diagnosis aged 86, in the mid stages of vascular dementia. Her cancer could not be treated with oral medicines, and I was under enormous pressure to agree for her to have the breast removed. I felt it was unlikely it would have caused her problems in her lifetime, but it was possible she could have lived longer and the medics insisted it would be unpleasant for her, so reluctantly I agreed to the surgery.

    As someone else has said, people can surprise you - in fact the surgery didn't bother her much and she bounced back from it really quickly. However, the appointments before surgery and time in hospital was very frightening and distressing for her and for me.

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