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Breast screening-your thoughts?

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
My mum has received a letter inviting her for a breast screen. She's 66. I would say she's in the moderate stages of Alz/vasD. As I've mentioned before I try to keep anxiety at a minimum because she suffers terribly with it and if she has something to worry about it makes her confusion much worse. She finds it hard to rationalise at times.

Her best friend died of breast cancer and this will surely dredge that up.

So would you:
1/ Tell her and ask if she wants to attend or not. Probably opening the door to worry and upset for her. Though obviously giving her the option.
2/ Mention hypothetically about breast screening and if she says she would definitely want to have one tell her about the appointment.
3/ Postpone the appointment and have a think about it (its in three week's time)
4/ Cancel the appointment. Not mention anything to her and avoid the stress.

I keep changing my mind.

X
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Hiya AG, you have a dilemma there.

Personally I like option 2, stick your toe in the water so to speak.

But then, I suppose you have to think about what would would happen if something was found during the screening.

I can fully understand why you keep changing your mind. Is there any history of breast cancer in your mum's family?
 

Jo1958

Registered User
Mar 31, 2010
3,724
0
Yorkshire
Option 4, there is no point in even thinking about attending, what would you do with a positive result and what terror, worry and upset would you cause by going and getting an all clear.

When hubby was at home I declined breast screening appointments for myself for just those reasons.
With best wishes from Jo
 

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
Hi CG!

Oh I hate dilemmas! There is no family history I am aware of. Our main family history is vascular problems, heart attacks and stroke.

I thought about this and to be honest if something was found I wouldn't want her to go through treatment. It would just seem cruel.

Therefore my feelings are ignorance is bliss. Obviously if she didn't have Alz I wouldn't feel like this, I would want to keep her as long as possible but because she does have it I want the time she has left (and i mean mentally as well as physically) to be as gentle as possible, not spent going through pain and stress.

I'm starting to learn how deceitful I can be! X
 

zeeeb

Registered User
For me, i'd bin it, and ignore it, perhaps return to sender, or cancel the reminders. That's just me though. Honestly, if she were to be diagnosed with breast cancer, would you go through treatment? chemo, radiation, surgery?

If the answer is no, then screening is a waste of time and stress.

Have you thought about / discussed with family what her wishes would have been pre-dementia. Would she want live saving invasive treatments to prolong life. This stuff needs to be decided upon before the medical crisis hits so everyone has a level head about it and makes the right decision before invasive treatment commences. There will almost always eventually be something that needs to be decided upon at some point, whether it's heart problems, diabetes, cancers etc...

It drives me a bit crazy that mum still has pap smears and breast screens, when she spends half her life at some kind of medical appointment. She has parkinsons and alzheimers, so i'm pretty sure it wouldn't be recommended to treat these kind of problems. And for someone who has always been so vehemently pro-euthenasia, i have no idea what her logic is with carrying on with the seemingly pointless tests.
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Hi again, in that case, go with option 4. I totally agree with you. Quality over quantity, no question. You are not being deceitful, you are protecting your mum from a lot of unneccesary upset and anxiety for what would be, ultimately, nothing.

I know that if ever my daughters have to make that decision for me under the same circumstances, that they would be brave enough to throw that letter away.

Much love to you, my friend xxx
 

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
Thanks Jo. I really didn't expect anyone to say option 4 due to deprivation of liberty!

I want to do the right thing but I have to say my heart is telling me not to put her through it but my head is saying I shouldn't be making this decision for her.

X
 

rajahh

Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
2,791
0
Hertfordshire
I would go for option 4 too. My husband does have prostate cancer but is having no treatment and is now terminally ill with it. The treatment would have been dreadful, so we are just letting nature takes course.

Jeannette
 

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
Thank you all for helping me get it in perspective. You've been a great help. I think I will be cancelling the appointment X
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,350
0
East Kent
I too would go for option four
Personally I dont see the point in testing if putting the person through treatment would be too hard for them,

Its so very hard when you have to make such decisions for someone else
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
17,546
0
68
Toronto, Canada
I would also go with option 4. We decided against my mother having her cataracts removed because she would have had to have general anaesthesia plus all the after care required.

Should she be diagnosed with cancer, we will keep her as comfortable as possible. She is now in the later stages and there would be no point. Plus, knowing what her attitude was towards extreme measures makes it easier for us.
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,712
0
North West
This might not be such a dilemma if they had evolved a better way of doing it.

I took my wife to her last screening. The claustrophobic cupboard in which you undressed was right next to the screening room. I could hear that they were having trouble getting my wife to leave her breast in the clamp - she naturally moved away as it started to hurt. I learnt later that they have 4 minutes for each patient.

They brought her back to the cupboard and said that they had only been able to complete two of the four scans. They said that they only had four minutes for each patient (for four scans)! I was surprised how red her breasts were. I should say that, normally, even since the dementia, she is very stoical about medical procedures that cause 'discomfort' (otherwise known as pain).

She was referred elsewhere, to a clinic where they had a bit more time and were able to complete scans to their satisfaction.

If this is typical of the screening, I dread to think how many women with dementia would cope with any treatment.
 

tiggs72

Registered User
Jul 15, 2013
142
0
My mum has received a letter inviting her for a breast screen. She's 66. I would say she's in the moderate stages of Alz/vasD. As I've mentioned before I try to keep anxiety at a minimum because she suffers terribly with it and if she has something to worry about it makes her confusion much worse. She finds it hard to rationalise at times.

Her best friend died of breast cancer and this will surely dredge that up.

So would you:
1/ Tell her and ask if she wants to attend or not. Probably opening the door to worry and upset for her. Though obviously giving her the option.
2/ Mention hypothetically about breast screening and if she says she would definitely want to have one tell her about the appointment.
3/ Postpone the appointment and have a think about it (its in three week's time)
4/ Cancel the appointment. Not mention anything to her and avoid the stress.

I keep changing my mind.

X

Hi Anon girl

My Aunty has VD and nearly 90. We just took her along pretending it was a Drs check up and she went along with this - we didn't tell until she was due to go.

They found a small cancerous lump but due to her age it's treated with medication to help keep it under control.

With both my dad (he has AD) and my Aunty I've learnt not to tell them anything until we are at apts etc purely to avoid stress and confusion.

May be discuss with the screening what yr options are if they did find anything and decide from there? It's an awful predicament deciding what to do for the best! Good luck

T x
 

LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,958
0
Brixham Devon
I would go along with which ever option you think your Mum could deal with. Personally I would want to have option 4.Do you think your Mum could deal with the examination or the treatment (or both) if cancer was found.

Hard decisions have to be made and it's very difficult.

Take care

Lyn T
 

Eliz52

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
0
0
You might decide to forget breast screening after you read the summary prepared by the Nordic Cochrane Institute, an independent medical research group. "The Risks and Benefits of Mammograms" is at their website. The head of the NCI is Peter Gotschke, his interviews and articles are also, informative.
Basically, a black cloud hangs over breast screening, it's controversial to say the least. There are also, powerful commercial and political interests in breast screening, which doesn't help. The NCI believe the risks of screening exceed any benefit, that about 50% of screen detected breast cancers are over-diagnosed, that the fall in the death rate is mostly about better treatments, not screening. Also, any benefit of screening is likely to be wiped out by women dying from heart attacks and lung cancer after treatments. (Professor Michael Baum wrote an article on the last point, it appears in the BMJ:2013)
I think every woman (or her carer) should read the NCI summary, you might decide no breast screening is the best course of action. If the decision not to screen was based on the effect it may have on the woman, this information may also, ease your mind.
Here in Australia fewer than 50% of women aged 50 to 70 are screening, many have made an informed decision not to screen based on the evidence.
 

JaneDee

Registered User
Jul 9, 2012
58
0
Yorkshire
I have the same predicament

Thank you for posting this.

My mum has received a reminder also and I have been wondering whether she should go. She does not suffer from anxiety but her Alzheimers has deteriorated to the point where she sees the world from a child's perspective. Already she thinks bras are funny and will only occasionally wear them. I just think a breast screening appointment may be a traumatic experience for her as she would have no understanding of what is happening or what it is for. I remember her telling me years ago how brutal the scans were, and realistically if she was to develop cancer, I do not think we would encourage any treatment.

Jane Dee
 

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
Hi Jane Dee. I know, they do sound awful. I don't see the point in putting her through any more trauma than is necessary.

I still have the letter propped up on my dressing table. I still feel uncomfortable making decisions for her, it just doesn't seem right. X
 

cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,937
0
North East England
Hi, it's me shoving me oar in!!:D OK first question....do you have an LPA, welfare in place empowering you to answer these letters on Mum's behalf?....That's just in case some bossy jobsworth decides that they might question your right to make reasonable, sensible decisions on Mum's behalf.:rolleyes::rolleyes:
After that it's quite simple....would you want Mum to potentially undergo surgery, chemo/ radiotherapy and up to five years of drug therapy and further, regular, scans for the next five years and more if the scan should show a cancer? All the while watching the dementia increasing....:eek:
I believe that you care too much ( in the best possible way) to subject your Mum to something that is, in all likelihood, going to cause her more distress now.
For me there is no option 1 2 or3.
Love Maureen.x.
 

Anongirl

Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
2,668
0
Hi Maureen. I do have the H&W LPA. I believe on most days at the moment mum has the capacity to make decisions about things like this but I also know that it will cause her anxiety going through it and waiting for the results.

I hope I can't get in trouble for taking the decision into my own hands!
X
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,762
0
Salford
My wife really enjoyed the breast scan day out, all those people to talk to she's never been too inhibited anyway so she thoroughly enjoyed it. What are the odds of it being a positive result I tried to google it but couldn't find a figure so I can't risk asses it, but if there's no family history and it would be all too traumatic for her then it's probably a good decision to give it a miss.