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To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's


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Old 01-29-2015, 07:57 AM   #1
baseball
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To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's

Hi Everyone

Once again I'm back for your help. My Mom was DX with stage 4 breast cancer in OCT. Nov first we started hormone therapy, two weeks ago I called her GP to ask if that pill causes Alzheimer's to get worse, the doc said only in 2 to 5% of people. Well, my Mom has gotten a lot worst since starting the medicine. Her doctor told me to stop it and see if it makes a difference.
It has not made a difference. Yesterday we went to her oncologist, he seems to want my Mom back on that pill or tomoxifen. My Mom was on tomoxifen for 5 years, 12 years ago when she first had breast cancer and did fine with it.
I don't think I want my Mom on any cancer treatment. I want her to have the best quality of life for the time she has left. I don't want to risk her mind getting worst for the cancer to "maybe" slow down.
It is so hard to make decision on someone else's life and it gets harder when there are 5 other sibling who also have a say. Most of them feel the same way I do.
If we don't do the drug therapy the doctor said it will be time for hospice.

Please let me know what you think.
I really appreciate it.
Liz

 
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:54 PM   #2
Ravin835
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Re: To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's

This is my belief...if your mother has a terminal diagnosis, along with poor quality of life due to Alzheimer's, it is ok to spare her the awful side effects of treatment for cancer. Hospice nurses are wonderful, and will know how to guide you all ...And the doctor...as to what treatments for pain are best.

This is a hard time for you and your siblings, but hopefully you can reach an agreement and support each other.

Last edited by Ravin835; 01-30-2015 at 07:50 PM. Reason: typo

 
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:33 PM   #3
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Re: To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's

Baseball, you are right that it is difficult to make these types of decisions for another person but sometimes it is necessary. I believe you are on the right track with your thinking.

You have to weigh the benefits and the negatives. You goal at this point is to give Mom the best quality of life possible. As you have seen, there is so much that can go wrong and make the Alzheimer's worse. Infections, pain, being out of her normal routine all work against her. Doctor's, hospitals, and procedures and not dementia friendly. She already has Alzheimer's, will she understand the treatments and what she needs to do in order to cooperate with the treatments? Is the medication, intended to slow the cancer, going to speed up her Alzheimer's? Are you ready to aggressively treat the cancer when she already has a terminal condition? These are the questions I would ask myself.

I have had similar situations and here is what I did. Dad has anemia and they suspected bleeding. They wanted to do a colonoscopy. After answering all the question above we decided not to do it. Mom had a broken arm. It was suggested we have surgery to pin the break. We let it heal naturally and it did ok. She also had fast growing skin cancer on her ear and we decided to have no treatment done.

If you do not decide on treatment I would suggest Hospice. Dad was with hospice the last 3 months and mom for 18 months. I can not say enough good things about them. They have visiting nurses, CNAs, even doctors. They also supply incontinent supplies and most medications.

I wish you luck in your decision and the comfort you need.

Love, deb

 
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:10 AM   #4
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Re: To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's

Thank you both very much for responding. My whole family has decided to stop treatment. We have a meeting with a hospice place tonight. There are 3 different ones to choose from in our area. I'm slowing learning about hospice now.
How important is it that the hospice place has their own inpatient program? One in our area has that, the other two would have my Mom in a nursing home if she needed to hospitalized for pain or other things that may come up.
We plan on keeping my Mom home, unless she needed to be hospitalized for something.

Thank you again
Liz

 
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:51 PM   #5
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Re: To treat or not to treat for stage 4 cancer with Alzheimer's

I like the Hospice inpatient facilities that I have had contact with. My FIL was in one after his stroke and a good friend went from a care facility to one locally. Mom and Dad were both in a care facility with Hospice and never needed the inpatient facility. If you plan to keep Mom at home it might be nice to have a Hospice inpatient facility to fall back on instead of a hospital or nursing home that is unknown. Do your homework though. Check out all three and see which one is the best. If you can talk to people who have used each service it would be nice. Meet the teams. There may be a group that you just click with. Is there a team with a doctor that makes house calls? Some do and so don't have this service. It is great to have an on call doctor as well as nurses. Also know that a decision now is not forever. You don't want to have to change but if the situation warrants you can change. My bet is, with the right team, Mom can stay at home with you for the duration. Hope something here has been helpful...

Love, deb

 
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