Over 70 years old starting Chemo

Posted by Glori @elvandi, Nov 5, 2017

I am 75 yrs old and had a left breast Mastectomy and now it has been suggested to start chemo and then hormonal pill therapy. My Onco test was at 34, which is considered high. I feel that I am now strong enough at this time to undergo Chemo. Has anyone over 70 been thru Chemo and was able to handle or not handle this treatment. There is not sufficient data showing that this age group can benefit from Chemo, and that the hormonal pill is as sufficient, without getting Chemo treatments. Would like thoughts from this senior age group.

shortshot80)to: mljskeet, I had a blood transfusion on the 12 of Jan, then the 16th I had chemo and a few days later my face swelled so bad I had slits for eyes and my dentures cut my mouth. I suffered about 6 days and finally went back to my cancer doc to see what could be done. I also saw my kidney doc who put me on 20mg of lasic (water pill). M cancer said to see how that goes. Saw my heart doc who increased the water pill to 40 mg. Then the cancer doc said to wait and see what does. Well I have lost 18 pounds, all water weight I’m sure. I have two kinds of lung cancer and I’m too old for the stuff.. I will be 85 March 19. Anyway saw the cancer doc and she did not have a answer to the swelling. So she said she might put me on a mantance program. By the way I cut my hair, my hair does not define me at all. I wear hats most of the time. People see me and give me a new hat. I have 41 now and I enjoy all the new hats. …At this time in my program, I do not have any energy Soon probably in march I will have to have the battery changed in my pacemaker. I have all this good fun…Ha! Not afraid, just no energy. Course not….. Nancy shortshot80)

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@shortshot80

shortshot80)to: mljskeet, I had a blood transfusion on the 12 of Jan, then the 16th I had chemo and a few days later my face swelled so bad I had slits for eyes and my dentures cut my mouth. I suffered about 6 days and finally went back to my cancer doc to see what could be done. I also saw my kidney doc who put me on 20mg of lasic (water pill). M cancer said to see how that goes. Saw my heart doc who increased the water pill to 40 mg. Then the cancer doc said to wait and see what does. Well I have lost 18 pounds, all water weight I’m sure. I have two kinds of lung cancer and I’m too old for the stuff.. I will be 85 March 19. Anyway saw the cancer doc and she did not have a answer to the swelling. So she said she might put me on a mantance program. By the way I cut my hair, my hair does not define me at all. I wear hats most of the time. People see me and give me a new hat. I have 41 now and I enjoy all the new hats. …At this time in my program, I do not have any energy Soon probably in march I will have to have the battery changed in my pacemaker. I have all this good fun…Ha! Not afraid, just no energy. Course not….. Nancy shortshot80)

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I really do admire you – you are amazing! As far as the hair goes, that is a small thing compared to our other worries. I bought a wig & wore that once – enough said! I did wear “turbins” when my hair was totally gone but love the idea of hats. I hope for you that things smooth out soon.

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I know I may have no place to suggest, but I am post menopausal (early hysterectomy), and I am on biodentical, compound natural hormones. They reduce BC from regular hormones by 20%. They have been great and I havent had as MUCH worry as I would on regular synthetic ones. Keep up this amazing strength. You are an inspirataion to all of us!

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Glori @elvandi: I had 12 weeks of chemo (Taxol) and targeted immune therapy (Herceptin) at age 70 because my Stage 1a tumor was also a grade 2 and HER2+++. Because it occurred in the left breast, I chose to forgo radiation (a radiologist noted that radiation didn't benefit women over 70 all that much); and, as I was a wreck from the treatments, I also chose not to continue with the additional nine months of Herceptin. (A large meta-analysis of >9,000 women age 70 and above indicated that about a third experienced a cardiac event from Herceptin; and the British National Health System decided that 10 weeks of Herceptin was as effective as 12 months of it, without the huge cost… things which American oncologists are not going to volunteer.) That left hormonal therapy. My oncologist recommended Arimidex, and I chose to take 1/2 dose for seven years as long as it did not adversely affect my bones. Like you, I have my doubts about a lot of the treatments recommended… oncologists don't seem to look at individuals and seem to know close to nothing about treatment effects on people our age: rather, there are published treatment standards from which they have difficulty deviating. In what's left of my mind, it's all a big crap shoot… some of us will be lucky, some won't be.

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@colleenyoung

Hi Glori,
What a great question to ask the group. you are very wise in doing your research. While age is a factor to be considered, I’m sure you’re also considering it along with other factors such as other possible health conditions, your general overall health, as well as your personal desires with respect to quality of life.
I’m tagging @wandering and @berit as I believe they might fall into your age category.

When do you have to make your choice, Glori?

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I am almost 69, diagnosed at 67 with Stage 2A breast cancer 18 months ago. I weighed my options and decided against chemo. Personally, I had seen several friends end up in the hospital because of chemo effects. I also saw younger friends breeze right through it, never missing work, etc. However, I feel my age (could be the 37 radiation treatments and a year on Arimidex) and decided I did not want to spend one day suffering from the chemo. Today I have my 18 month mammogram and I am filled with anxiety ! Someone wrote on the Mayo page that they felt the anxiety is worse than any aches or pains from the Arimidex and I agree! 'WIshing you the best~ Molly

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@karoki

Hi Glori
I live inCape Town South Africa. At 70 I was diagnosed with aggressive ovarian cancer which had spread to lymph nodes and my omentum.
I had a hysterectomy and 6 sessions of chemotherapy with three weeks in between each session.
I was surprised that getting the chemotherapy through a drip for two hours every three weeks was fine. I sat in a lounger reading or chatting with fellow patients in a big light room with experienced caring nurses. There is no pain associated with it.
The next days or so I was tired and sometimes nauseous. They give you anti nausea pills to take with you. You can also take medical marijuana if your state allows, against nausea.
It is a journey that has an end point.
I also went on a diet, which I am still on, of no breads, milk products, sugar products, preserved or smoked foods. Also vitamin c drips every two weeks and anti cancer supplements.
I have just come home from hospital after a preventative double mastectomy because I and my children carry the BRCA2 gene.
I am now 72.
It is easier I think if you have a support system.
Go for if you can.
Life is a precious gift. I want to know that I have done as much as I can to preserve my life, when I die.
Wishing you strength
Love from across the oceans
Dawn

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Dawn ~Excellent explanation and support! What a great attitude ~ I am certain that the optimism helps. Your chemo sounds as though it was not so bad. Wishing you continued good health. It sounds as though you are on what we call the "Keto Diet"? I have a friend whho has done remarkably well on it.

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Thank you for your encouragement, my mom is 72 years old, she just recently started with Chemo, and its has been hard on us as a family. Reading your encouragement has given me hope. Thank you

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@zamazoe

Thank you for your encouragement, my mom is 72 years old, she just recently started with Chemo, and its has been hard on us as a family. Reading your encouragement has given me hope. Thank you

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Hi @zamazoe, welcome to Connect. How is your mom doing with chemo? Is she having chemo before surgery or did she already have surgery?

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