no treatement.

my mum just got diagnosed a month ago.
she dosent want treatement,
she says she would rather live her life happy,
then die in hospital.
i underastand her views, but, i dont think i could handle it if she died.
how long does she have,
without treatement?
she caught it early.
she says she is feeling well and healthy,
i think she is lying.

So sorry to hear that your mum has been diagnosed and is refusing treatment. Your Mum may well be telling the truth when she says she is feeling well - I was fit and well throughout my entire treatment (I had surgery and radiotherapy) and was never actually ‘ill’.

I suspect your Mum is very frightened at the moment and perhaps is scared of the treatment. You don’t say how old yor Mum is … is this a factor for her refusing treatment?

I can’t answer your question about how long she will live without treatment - cancer is such a diverse disease and every case is different with no standard time frame.

Speak to your Mum and ask her why she has made this decision - if it is fear of the treatment then she can discuss this with the breast care nurses or the ppl on the helpline on this site. I hope she changes her mind and takes the treatment but if not ultimately that has to be her decision.

Best of luck

love Lilac

I felt extremely fit and well when diagnosed with cancer, as cancer in its early stages doesn’t hurt usually. So I wasn’t keen to submit myself to painful treatment with what I consider to be mutilating surgery. Your mother will have to make her own choices but when I was tempted not to have treatment, no-one in the hospital would tell me what the likely outcome would be. I went on the internet and found that untreated breast cancer usually leads to your death in 5-7 years. Of course some people even with breast cancer treatment also die within this time frame so that needs to be borne in mind.

The downside to not having treatment is that the tumour keeps doubling in size all the time and eventually will break through the skin so you end up with a smelly ulcerated area. If cancer is untreated, it is very likely many cancer cells will also spread to other parts of the body causing pain and earlier death. Treatment at any stage tends to stop the cancer from developing as quickly, improves pain and can lead to you living a lot longer. The latest estimates indicate about 70% of people who get breast cancer live for at least 20 years after diagnosis. The earlier the treatment starts in the development of the disease the less likely it is to go on to spread beyond the breast which is the stage when although treatable, the cancer is incurable.

Your mother might well die in hospital whether she has treatment or not - most people do seem to die in hospital nowadays, and we all have to die sometime whether it is of breast cancer or some other disease.


I am so sorry that you are in this situation.

Being given the diagnosis of cancer is shocking and the shock can hold you in terrible fear. It is so frightening. Words that we never dreamt we would hear about ourselves - mastectomy - chemo. It can be much easier to turn away than to face it.

I am not convinced that your mum has really thought this through because as Mole and Lilac say the reality is without treatment it can get so much worse - and hospital is where she would be, only not necessarily recovering.
I have had a mastectomy, chemo and rads and not spent one night in hospital as a result of this treatment.

If your mum has made an informed decision then that is a different matter, one which should be respected.

What a terrible position for you to be in. I am thinking of my own daughter as I write this. Have you or can you talk to your mum honestly about how you feel? Perhaps this could be a wake up call for her. If you read through the threads on this site, or even better if your mum does, you will find very ordinary ladies who are going through this and somehow coping. She needs to know this. Some will not have a loving daughter like yourself to be by their side.

Make sure that you look after yourself throughout this time, that you have someone to talk to and strengthen you.
I will be thinking of you and hope that your mum finds her way through.


She could live for many many years. How old is she?

However, she should also be introduced to the idea that some kind of care is helpful, and that refusing all forms of treatment is not necessarily a good thing.

Hi there, if your Mum doesn’t want any treatment there are still lots of non invasive palliative treatments that could make her life easier, some effective pain relief. I’ve been having treatment since my terminal diagnosis in 2003, I Iead a normal life, pain free, have never lost my hair, lots of people outside my family have absolutely no idea I’m ‘terminal.’ x

My mum had breast cancer twice. She got through the first mastectomy etc and then a few years later when she found a new tumour in the other breast, she went into panic mode. She said she was going to do the “Bristol” treatment which was based on healthy eating, meditation etc and couldn’t face any more treatment. To be honest, I wasnt that sympathetic (I was very young and saw everything in black and white) and told her she was being stupid and how could healthy eating remove a big cancerous lump. She obviously took in what I said and she came round and went on to have another mastectomy and lived 15 years (died of heart disease). I think you mum is just panicking because of the initial diagnosis and fear of the treatment. I think this is common- sort of running away. If your mum’s cancer is early she has a very good chance of many years of life with treatment - no idea what would happen without.

I wonder if it is your Mum’s age that is the problem?.I am 64 and when I was young treatment was brutal and often unsuccessful.I was terrified when advised to have chemo.I was told by my surgeon,that with surgery alone I had 70% chance of being around in 10 years,with rads added that went up to 79% and with chemo on top 84.9%.I want to live and share my children and grandchildrens lives for as long as possible.I only needed a lumpectomy not mastectomy.Please ask your mum to consider surgery and then she will be given the options.She would only need a couple of days in hospital and she may not need chemo at all.Good luck to you both,Valxx

Hi there

Everybody’s decision on treatment is personal and the only thing to say is that it should be made from an informed position. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions to get information and ask more questions if you don’t understand the answers and don’t stop asking questions until you have what you/your mum need.

Ask anywhere, on this forum, at the doctors, it doesn’t matter who and how often but please also give yourselves time to digest the answers.

Do let us know how you and your mum are doing.



Hi messed up

As others have suggested your mum may think her age and fear of the treatment is the problem. I was 59 when I was diagnosed and had a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction during the week of my 60th birthday.

I then went on to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy and am now two years on from diagnosis and have been back at work for one year (glutton for punishment, but I enjoy my job) and do not feel ready to retire just yet!

Your mum may be frightened at the moment at the thought of treatment. The worst part after the diagnosis is the not knowing what the treatment involves, but believe me it is doable. There was no bigger coward than me when it even came to having an injection.

As Margaret says please look after yourself at this time and do not keep everything to yourself.
Try to get your mother to talk to you and if possible go with her to any future appointments and ask questions. Write a list if that helps.

Please let us know how you and your mum get on.

Love and take care

It may help your mum if she can talk to other BC sufferers either on here or over the telephne. BCC can arrange for her to have contact with a recovering patient who will be matched to her. I found this very helpful and have considered offering my services as a ‘buddy’, don’t know what they are called.

This illness is very hard to cope with on your own, and it sounds very much like your mum has jumped to a decision she may regret later. She needs all the facts, and even though Mole’s thread was graphic, it was factual. Has anyone explained how the disease will progress if just left?

The priority now is to get your mum to talk to someone asap. The treatment is not all doom and gloom all the time for everyone. I personally was terrified of BC before I got it. Now I have it, I have learned to live with it, but only because of excellent medical care and support (mainly from on here).

Good luck


Also, you could find which bit of the treatment your Mum is particularly scared of. It’s always possible for her to agree to only part of the treatment - for instance, if it’s chemo she’s worried about, she may be willing to consider just surgery to remove the lump, and hormone therapy. If it’s radiotherapy, skip that bit. As someone’s said, leaving it completely untreated really isn’t the best option. The surgery is doable and she can stop hormone therapy if she doesn’t like the side effects.

I had surgery, and I’m on hormone therapy, but I opted out of doing chemo because I didn’t feel the extra benefit was worth it FOR ME - as everyone else has said, it’s very personal. The oncologist ought to respect a request to do one bit of the treatment but not another, though they will definitely want to discuss what that would mean for the success of treatment with your mum. If you could be there too, that could help her, because she’s then going to have someone to talk it through with afterwards.

Keep us posted on how you both are,

Your mum might not even need surgery! I never had the op (bone scan showed disease, now under control thanks to ongoing treatment) am taking hormone therapy. Not had chemo either. The oncologists should offer whichever treatment is most effective with the fewest side effects, according to each patient’s particular type of bc (your mum would need a biopsy if she hasn’t already had one).

Yes, do keep us informed, it must be so difficult for you just now.

I am 47 and my lump,although found early last October was growing quickly and I had chemo to shrink it before removal and radiotherapy.I had 21 lymph nodes removed and have now been told there is a high chance it will not return, so I hold onto that and live my life for me and my family.Is your mum in denial at the moment,maybe counselling would help if she would go.Please be patient with her,and explain that treatments have come a long way.I lost my mum in 1985 and know she would have a better chance now.
Other than the sickness the chemo brought, and I coped well with that,I have also felt fit and healthy.It is the drugs they give us that make us feel sickly.
I have now returned to work and feel great

Take Care and Stay Strong

Hi mrsblue, i see you havent had any ops or chemo , i havent and am taking arimdex , when ever i have had my scan the lump has shrunk , so small they carnt even find it,.

It is good to hear of someone like myself i was beging to think i was the only one with hormome treatment on its own .

Marie x

Hi Marie
Yes, we are in a minority. I’m still doing well, Sept’s bone scan showed slight improvement to some of the secondary tumours, I’m still on the same hormone treatment. But I have asked for a breast ultrasound in March - I’ve had no scans of my breast since my original diagnosis in summer 2006. I am now 59 by the way… (and a grandmother!!)

I wonder why you didn’t have surgery? if I may ask.

And also wondering about the person who started this thread, “MessedUp”, if you are reading this, please let us know what happened about your mum, whether the news is encouraging or not so good. As Margaret (naunamh) said above, you are obviously a caring and concerned daughter.