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Breast Cancer

Hi there, My mom has breast cancer and is 87 years old. She has refused treatment because of her age and other health conditions. I live about 3 hours from her but try to visit at least every month lately and talk with her at least twice a day. Things seem to be getting worse and I don't know who to talk to. I don't have a family doctor like so many and she is terrified to go see anyone because of the non bedside manner of the last cancer doctor she visited. We have also gone through the stages of cancer with my dad who passed away 13 years ago from leukemia so I'm sure that is on her mind as well.

17 Replies
7731 Posts

@Lovemymom welcome to the site. Im sorry you have to go through this with your mom…you may want to talk to the social worker at the cancer center or the cancer Info line at 1888 939 3333. They are very kind. I will log on a bit later to give you some tips on how to support a loved one from a distance..just realized my break is over but would like to talk more later today.

1667 Posts

@Lovemymom Hello and welcome from NS! So glad you connected here with us. I am sorry, to hear of the diagnosis, for your mom. How wonderful it is, that you are seeking support, and more…..and you will find it; right here; we understand….we listen…we share experiences….

You, as a daughter, cannot “force” mom, into accepting a treatment plan…..you sure can try to sway her….you can take her to any medical appt….you can pick up meds…..you can do a lot; but, sadly, you cannot “make” her undergo any treatment. It is REALLY hard, to watch this….you have your say….she has hers…..you can have a few more heart to heart talks……perhaps you/your mom, can talk with the Oncologist…..is there a treatment, she will accept? Something acceptable? Less harsh? I am unsure why she says no, other than age. Simply ask…..is she afraid? Can you accompany her, as needed? Tell her she will not be alone…at all.

Sharing……when my dad, was diagnosed with Colon Cancer…..he was 88……he TOO adamantly, said: NO treatment! He actually said: “Leave me alone!”…..my mom and I tried….talked with him; even begged him, to try “something”….he refused…..we cannot force….so we chose to support him/his choice….and did all we could, for him, for the the next 18months.

I will include a link below (breast), you can read, of others' experiences, and reach out/"tag" anyone, if you wish to; simply type “@”screen name; no space after “@”…..a few names will drop down; select name you wish; turns to blue; this is OK; they will get your message.

It is all, a personal decision……but if “fear” (and not really age) is her reason…..talk….with Dr….social worker…..us, here….many ladies, can explain their treatment plan….perhaps similar to what may have been offered to your mom.

Keep sharing here….with us…..we are listening.




Thank you so much Whitelilies for even replying! After I wrote my introduction I thought what if no one replies… how sad would that be. I appreciate your words of encouragement. She has been dealing with this for awhile now and I don't know a whole lot about medical things but from what I see it sounds as if it has gone into her lymph nodes. She told me this morning that she has a hole on her breast about the size of a quarter that is leaking and bleeding some. She did decide today to go to the clinic to get it checked out so that is a big step.

Anyhow thank you again for your reply and God bless you on your journey.

Runner Girl
2289 Posts

@Love my Mom

Thank you for updating that your mom has gone to the clinic to have her condition addressed. I had a great aunt that sounds very similar to your mom. I didn't know her but my mom told me about her having a hole from her breast cancer.

My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and declined treatment. He died 7 months later. My mom passed from untreated diverticulitis - she did not trust doctors and would not see one for anything.

Parents are so frustrating!

When my breast cancer was found a few months after my mom died in 2018 I did the whole deal. Surgery, chemo, herceptin, radiation, tamoxifen and anastrozole. I'm still here and the cancer is gone - I truly hope it stays gone too!

Sending you a big HUG.

Runner Girl

7731 Posts

@Lovemymom some great advice from the other ladies…….like they said, you can't force her to undergo treatment…….it is a personal choice. All you can do is support her. Not all doctors are going to have the same bedside manner as the former one. Some of them are actually kind and caring. She might find a doctor or social worker at the cancer centre that she feels comfortable talking to. And you might find one you feel comfortable talking with as well. You mentioned you don't have a family doctor. i'm wondering if a walk in clinic can even give you or her a referal to a social worker at the hospital. What about a religious leader, if you belong to a church or religious organization. As well, social workers are at emergency 24 hours a day if you ever feel like you need to talk to someone and don't want to wait weeks. The cancer info line I listed above may also have more info for you, or if you just want a kind voice on the other end, the number is 1888 939 3333.

It must be so frustrating for you to be 3 hours away from her. There are many things you can do from afar to show support. You can order food to be delivered to her place, send care packages of things she loves, watch shows together while being on the phone. Is she tech savvy at all? Can she zoom or text? You can eat meals together by zoom, or watch shows together by zoom or even text, if she has a cell phone…..things like that………….Just be in regular touch to make sure she is getting what she needs……..and please get support for yourself too. do you have a close friend or another family member who you can talk with or confide in? it's a difficult situation you are in, forsure. But there won't be a time when you post here that you won't get an answer. You will always get an answer from someone. So post away and vent and let us know how things are going!

560 Posts


good morning - thank you so much for your post.
welcome to this community; a place where we all try to support each other!

cancer is hard for the patient, but I think honestly, harder on the family all around.
caregivers are the unsung hero's of our stories.

I can echo what others have said; you cannot ‘make’ mom get treatment. BUT she can be made more comfortable as she works thru her story, her own way.
I think the cancer information line would be a great place to start….maybe you can do some discrete fact finding about home care visits, palliative support before they are required.

does your mom live on her own? or is she in a retirement community? is there a seniors group in her community - maybe they have a network of help information to share?

good news that she went to the clinic-the last thing she needs right now is an infection caused by an open wound.
I will hope for you both that the folks she saw there were kind & caring and made her feel comfortable for reaching out. positive bedside manner is def not a skill that all providers magically have.

you are a GREAT daughter, and your handle: Love my Mom says it all. the times you are spending with her in your monthly visits and daily telephone visits are so precious. enjoy this special time with each other, but also a gentle reminder to say that you need support also. 😘


#cancerinthefamily #refusetreatment #breastcancer #longdistancecaregiving #caregiversareANGELSonearth

I am so happy you are cancer free! You are right parents can be frustrating haha. Thank you for sharing that you have heard of this before. She is going back today to get it packed and they are going to check her for infection as well.

Sorry to hear that your mom and dad have both passed. It is never an easy thing. You must have been scared about with your diagnosis. I too have had an great aunt pass away from breast cancer and therefore it is on my mind as well. I have never gone for a mammogram and I know I should as I am 47 now. It is kinda scary and my mom use to say how much it hurt.

Thank you for reaching out with your encouraging words that your cancer is gone!!

Runner Girl
2289 Posts

@Love my Mom

You mention that you've not had a mammogram yet. Please see your doctor, book one and go. You have a family history. At least get a baseline mammogram done so they can watch for changes as the years go by. They are not the most comfortable thing to have done but I can say from experience that since I've had cancer my exams are more invasive as they need to take a really good look. My scar tissue getting compressed is way more painful than just the regular mammogram. But the new mammogram machines are much faster and the pain is very brief. If they find anything dealing with it sooner rather than later provides a much better outcome.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to go, get your mammogram done and ask what your density is graded at. A-D is how they grade. I am Grade D the most dense tissue - but I didn't learn that until after I had cancer. I now receive not only a mammogram but also and ultrasound so NOTHING will get missed.

I am glad your mom will be going back to have the wound checked. I'm also very glad she has your support, you are a good daughter.

Runner Girl

9 Posts
I cannot stress enough how important mammograms are as a screening tool. Two of my sister-in-laws are with us today since both had cancer diagnosis after mammograms. One was twenty-five years ago, the other five years ago. It may be an uncomfortable procedure, but the technician is very matter-of-fact about the process which reduces my anxiety to a tolerable level. I have one done every two years as recommended and it is always a good feeling and a sigh of relief when the results come back negative. I am a big believer in getting screening tests when they are appropriate. Next up, my colonoscopy in the spring! P.S. My brother-in-law is a cancer survivor due to his colonoscopy three years ago.
Thank you for your advice. I am going to book a mammogram you are right. It is better to catch it right away and not wait.

You mentioned density, what difference does that make? Is it that they need to look harder to be sure they don't miss anything?

1667 Posts

@Love my Mom Hello…..may I ask; what did clinic say/do for your Mom? Did she get further advice? Did she get kind, care?

I agree with others….please….. book your mammogram……

Time 2 chuckle: Think of it as a “Panini Sandwich” (you !) It is bearable……you can do it!

Book! Call! The time is right.

We are all, here, for you….and your mom.



#book your mammo

Thank you for asking! After waiting in the ER for 12 hours they packed it, told her about a wound clinic that she could go to where she wouldn't have to wait as long. They also decided in her case her tumor it doesn't seem to be fast growing even though at this point it is about the size of an orange. They are going to do surgery to remove it. She is going to speak with the anesthesiologist and see if they can do some sort of local freezing so that she doesn't have to be fully sedated. She is feeling better about this as bless her heart, she has been praying it would be gone and figures if this is the way, then this is how it goes.

Runner Girl
2289 Posts

@Love my Mom

Thank you for the update on your mom. Fantastic news that there is a wound clinic that can help her more quickly as well as potential surgery to remove it! Big wins for your mom, and you!

Runner Girl

1637 Posts

@Love my Mom so Pleased to hear your mom is considering surgery. That should make her more comfortable. Even if she declines further treatment there’s no reason for her to be in pain. And for what it’s worth, having been through breast cancer treatment including surgery, chemo and radiation, I wouldn’t go through chemo at her age either xx

19 Posts

My mother was the same @Lovemymom .she was 82 and had a leaking wound on her breast. once we convinced her to have it checked out, it was positive for breast cancer. An appointment with a surgeon confirmed it was too large a tumour to remove and she had 6 months at most. I convinced the oncologist to at least try Femora with her and it actually did shrink the tumour and gave us 2 ½ years more with her. Never give up trying!

I’m glad your mom agreed to surgery. She has our prayers that the surgery works well for her.

Thank you for the information on the Femora. I hope that they will be able to do the surgery. I guess it will depend on how large it is and we are praying that is not attached to anything.

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