Worried about social and environmental knock-on effects of cancer treatments

I am waiting for, & very worried about, results of the biopsies after a mastectomy because of a local recurrence of breast cancer.   I had the works previously:  wide margin lumpectomy, chemo, radio, Herceptin.   I reacted very badly to the chemo - three separate stays in hospital.   Treatments finished in May 1012, to be followed by a really bad dose of sciatica that lasted the whole summer.  The cancer ‘recurred’ last month, October '13, so I had barely a year of ‘good’ health.

I guess lots of folk will think I am neurotic, but, as a Quaker, I am concerned about the effects my wonderful cancer treatment - angels all of them - are having on the rest of the NHS [?Geriatric wards, A&E?], on the drains [my wee after chemo, and after CT with contrast scans] and on peace and justice in the world.  Why are our lives in the west worth so much more than those of women in Sub-saharan Africa, Syria, the Philippines?

Does anyone else share my concerns?  More to the point, how do I find out the environmental effects of whatever treatments I am offered next Wednesday?  I was educated in a convent school for young ladies and never had a chemistry lesson in my life, apart from cooking and gardening.   The few reports I have manages to track down have been totally incomprehensible to me, and as far as I could guess not very relevant.

To put things in perspective Ethned  (I hope) just think of all those people who abuse alcohol and end up needing a liver transplant. All those who are heavy smokers, causing lung cancer to themselves and possibly others. Also diseases like COPD and Empysemia. You couldn’t help getting breast cancer, or having a recurrence. I think your conscience should be clear in comparison to those who inflict disease upon themselves and others. Be kind to yourself.


Good luck with your results.


poemsgalore xx

Hello there,


It is commendable that you feel so strongly about our world to consider not having treatment in order to save the NHS money , but really you have to realise like Poems said that there are so many other sectors of society who do not maybe deserve the treatment they get on the NHS, but that after all is what the Health Service was set up for , free treatment for all. When I was offered FEC T Chemotherapy I did much research about the drugs and was unsure whether to have the Taxotere part, not just because of the huge expense , but because of the danger of permanent hair loss, BUT one of the Chemo nurses said to me " Tracy if you was in India you would be fighting to get this drug ". It kind of put everything into perspective for me and I did follow the regime for the recommended 3 cycles. Afterwards I found that I wanted to fund raise for Breast Cancer Care so I organised Pink Fridays, Strawberry Teas and other events to raise awareness of this wonderful charity and all that it does, so please accept the treatment you are offered. God wants you on this earth for a long time yet to be an advocate for BCC and other Cancer charities. I also increased all my giving across the board both at church and through direct debits. This may help you feel better about taking the treatment that you so richly deserve. Love Tracy xxx  


Hi Eithned,

No you are not the only one who worries about things like this. When I found out how much my treatment was costing I felt guilty and embarrassed, but our natural instinct is to fight as hard as we can to survive.


Maybe SEPA or a friendly pharmacist can tell you the effect of all our toxic pee etc, or phone your water company who can detect and tell you all about the effect of stuff we put down the drains. I remember a gardener who peed on his veg to encourage them along, and killed them off during the time he was on anti-biotics, so yes you are right to be concerned. We do need to become individually concerned about everything we consume and what happens when we dispose of it, and we are gradually becoming compelled by law to do so, for example, no recyclables in land fill.


The NHS spends £££££ on people with avoidable diseases, but deciding who deserves and who doesnt is a dangerous path to take when the causes are multiple and largely unaddressed. And for all the money spent treating smoking-related diseases, its actually cheaper for the NHS if people carry on smoking and die younger.


Thank you for raising these interesting thoughts, and I hope your treatments are going all right and wish you all the luck xxx

Hello Eithned


I think it’s a lovely testament to you that you are so concerned about the effects of your treatment on others when you have gone through so much. Not sure I could be so nice!


No expert, but imagine that in the grand scheme of things you have less to be concerned about than anyone who has ever taken a long-haul flight.


Much love.