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Topic: 84 year old mother, newly diagnosed with other problems.

Forum: Breast Cancer with Another Diagnosis or Comorbidity — Meet others who have breast cancer but also have another health diagnosis/comorbidity such as diabetes, MS, bipolar disorder, HIV or AIDS, Parkinson's Disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Posted on: Sep 27, 2016 09:25AM

Mcgr45 wrote:

Hello Friends,

I am MCGR and my mother, who is 84 years old was literally just diagnosed 9 days ago with Stage 3 Breast Cancer in her left breast and nodule's that are going to be watched in right breast, after having a 2 hour Diagnostic Mamogram. No Biopsy done yet. Had first opinion going for 2nd and 3rd opinion this week, then will make a decision.Last mammogram was in 1998. You heard right, her last Mamogram was 18 YEARS AGO. Her last blood work was 10 years ago. Mom is of the thought, "Here no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"! Now EVIL has befallen her, and pardon my French, it's a $hitstorm! The incidental finding showed elevated liver enzymes, gallstones and sludge in her gallbladder, (it's not infected just distended) and multiple diverticuli, up and down her small and large colon (again NOT diverticulotis). Rest of bloodwork including CBC with Diffetentials was normal, including white blood count. Other then the cancer, diverticuli, and gallstones the emergency room doctor said my mother was healthy. What a joke. I don't yet know the entire diagnosis because there has been no biopsy. So here it is-We had a consult with a recommended Surgeon who is 72, from the OBGYN who is 62. Surgeon said take off the breast involved and that radiation burns and can effect the liver and heart. It's not so good for an 84 year old. My mom can walk slowly, but has bad knees, hearing loss, and her memory is going, (she repeats herself) and she has eye site issues. What would you do? Anyone in the same situation or doctors that can help?

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Sep 27, 2016 09:38AM Moderators wrote:

We are so sorry to hear what your mom (and you!) are going through with this. It is really hard for us to say, so happy to hear that you are getting multiple professional opinions. The biopsy will give you much more information on how to approach the treatment choices, and given her age, they will decide on the best course for her. How is your mom managing all this, emotionally?


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Sep 28, 2016 11:04AM - edited Sep 28, 2016 11:06AM by wallycat

Many people over the age of 50 have diverticuloSIS and never are even aware of it. If your mom is not running a fever and it is not "itis" (infected pocket) then this diagnosis is moot. Many people (women in particular) over age 40 have some gallstones. We were trained that you don't touch them unless they are symptomatic. If your mom is not complaining of pain, most doctors will say watch and wait. So, it sounds like your mom was right....don't look for trouble where there is none ;-)

Breast cancer at 84....I should have been so lucky! I hope she can have a lumpectomy and go on her merry way. I don't want to dismiss the angst you are feeling because all our loved ones are treasures that we want to remain healthy and vibrant and strong but the reality is that no one lives forever. Most breast cancer is slow-growing in older women so I bet if she did nothing, she could live to 90 and beyond on her own terms! Enjoy your mom and may things work out great for you both.


Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Sep 28, 2016 11:18AM Denise-G wrote:

My mom was age 80 at diagnosis, but was Stage 1 with a 1.4 cm tumor and no nodes.  She had a Lumpectomy (which she sailed through - went to casino next day!).   She got a second opinion at Univ of Michigan, which is an NCI Designated Cancer Center which recommended no chemo, no rads. 

Also, before my mom's biopsy, the Radiologist told us she was 99% certain my mom had breast cancer to prepare my mom.  I always appreciated that as I am a BC Survivor and so is my sister.

Don't fault your mom too much for not having that mammogram later in life.  MANY doctors tell patients that after age 65 or 70, you don't need them!!  My mom was told this!!   At that age you need them more than ever, but SO MANY older women think like your mom does!  Certainly not so uncommon.  I know many of them!  I've taken care of many elderly people.

Get those second and third opinions, and go from there. 




www.denise4health.wordpress.com my BC Blog with over 200 informative posts about all aspects of BC - stop by! Myself, my mom, and sister were all diagnosed with BC within 3 years. What a ride! Dx 10/10/2011, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 11/22/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/26/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/27/2012 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 10/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 28, 2016 11:18AM - edited Sep 28, 2016 11:27AM by muska

Hi wallycat, unfortunately there appears to be no merry way with this disease - even if you are elderly when diagnosed. My mother-in-law noticed a lump when she was 89, her PCP felt it too, said it was most likely breast cancer and advised her to do nothing - for the same exact reasons you are listing, e.g. it is slow growing, etc. She died a very painful death from BC mets at 91 and the last six or eight months were hell not just for her.

Editing to add that at some point and when she was already in great pain, she had to be brought to ER/admitted to hospital where they ran all the tests biopsy including and the cancer turned out to be highly ER+. Of course nobody knows what would have happened if she got tested as soon as she noticed the lump.

Dx at 54 Dx 5/9/2013, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 7/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 6/13/2013, LCIS, Both breasts Surgery 6/13/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 3/12/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 3/23/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone
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Sep 28, 2016 11:25AM wallycat wrote:

Muska, I was simply noting that treatment after age 80 is difficult on its own. I know a few older gals refusing knee replacements because as one stated, "the amount of time to recuperate for my age is life-times of living..."

As many of us have noted here, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.....

I am sorry your MIL was left in pain and could not have had a peaceful and "on her own terms" death.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Sep 30, 2016 05:19AM - edited Sep 30, 2016 05:21AM by Mcgr45

Thanks ladies for all the advice and the comments. My mother will be getting needle biopsy's this next week. Then we will know the real truth regarding the staging. Right now as I mentioned they have said stage 2 or 3. My father's Prostate Cancer is in control for now. My mom is an emotional wreck but at 84 she operatesby not talking about the (whispering) cancer. It's hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil-and up to now ignoring her health has worked. Both mom and dads memory, short term is going as is some reasoning and cognitive ability, but maybe this is too be expected given their age and what they are going through. I really just want them be comfortable through this.

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Sep 30, 2016 07:43AM Denise-G wrote:

MCGR45 - it is all so difficult. My mom, the cancer survivor, had a major heart attack this week,and is a miracle she is still here. It is truly a lesson in going with the flow when taking care of elderly parents through all their health challenges. Keep us posted about the results from your mom's biopsy. Hopefully, it is the slow-growing cancer as frequently found in elderly women.

Sending all the best. Denise

www.denise4health.wordpress.com my BC Blog with over 200 informative posts about all aspects of BC - stop by! Myself, my mom, and sister were all diagnosed with BC within 3 years. What a ride! Dx 10/10/2011, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 11/22/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/26/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/27/2012 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 10/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 30, 2016 08:38AM gracie22 wrote:

not in the exactly the same situation, but my mom (82) was diagnosed with uterine cancer earlier this year. Originally thought to be stage 1, the surgical pathology showed it to be stage 3 which comes with a recommendation for both chemo and rads. Her existing bowel/bladder issues would be worsened by both treatments, and she decided that rads had more stats behind it for efficacy in preventing recurrence and went for rads only. She was not interested in either, but her RO, gyn and a family friend who is an RO all made the case for doing at least that. Her last treatment was in June and she has not yet recuperated. Still has fatigue, and worsening of bowel/bladder issues. Worst of all, she developed tremendous back pain and an MRI showed a fracture. Since her movements have been very guarded and she has had no falls, the rads are likely responsible as they are known to cause damage to bones. To be completely honest, if we knew then what we know now, we would done surgery only. If these turn out to be her last days, they have been pretty darn miserable. She felt fine post surgery and likely would have felt that way for a good while. My own (very personal, of course) opinion is that someone who lives to 80 should do whatever they please and not be pushed into therapies that take months to recover from, if ever. I also don't think that it is a big deal that your mother skipped mammograms. Many docs tell women over 70 to skip it, and some women just don't want the stress. At that age I would skip it too!

Dx IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Sep 25, 2018 08:02PM RSOOD wrote:

My mother has been diagnosed for breast cancer , shes 84 years old , hardly can go to wash room , somehow was managing her daily routines, this news has devastated me. People are advising me not to do anything, doctors are saying to get the lump removed with no chemo or radiation, i am told once the operation is done cancer cells mix and spread fast. They tell me if i do nothing it can spread and all the scary things are being told. All i want is if she has to leave this world she should go without pain. Can someone advise me what should i do?

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Sep 25, 2018 08:41PM AliceBastable wrote:

RSOOD, my mother had breast cancer at age 85. She had a lumpectomy and a full course (about 5 weeks) of radiation. She did fine with it and lived to 97. I can't tell from your post if your mother is in otherwise good shape or not, since you say "hardly can go to wash room" and "was managing her daily routines" in the same sentence.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 25, 2018 08:44PM RSOOD wrote:

Thank you so much for this . My mother is not strong, she can hardly sleep and is already suffering with stomach problems, knee problems and is slightly diabetic, its a tough call for me.

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