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Chemotherapy for the elderly

34 REPLIES 34
BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hello,  I hope all is going well with your Mum's chemotherapy and she is responding to the treatment.  Best wishes,

Sally82
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you dear, my mum will start her first Chemotherapy the day after tomorrow.😔
cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you for your kind words, I will definately keep in touch x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi friend,  I am so so sad to hear about the loss of your mum.  I feel through our correspondence that I got to know her a little and you and understand at least some of what you must be feeling.   It is just terribly sad and unfair,  I can't believe that she has passed away.   My condolences to you and your family.  She fought so strongly against the cancer she was very brave.  I am glad at least that she is not in pain any more and that she had her family around her in her final hours.   Just be consoled in the knowledge that you did everything you could for her and that she knew it too.  I am truly sorry.  If I can be of help in any way I am here.  Thinking of you and your family, so sorry, so sad xx

Happyboobs2
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

So sorry for your loss, your Mum had the best care from you and your brothers.xx
cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi blestg, mum became really I'll on Monday and sadly she passed away last night, I'm absolutely devastated, she decided last Thursday that she didn't want any more chemo because she had been feeling so unwell, the onc agreed, we took her to the hospice on Monday for the day clinic, but she was so I'll they put her straight to bed, they wanted to keep her in but she was adament she wanted to be at home, me and my brothers decided not to have help from carers and to nurse her ourselves because she didn't want strangers washing her and taking her to the toilet, we all three stayed with her all the time, she got so poorly she couldn't even stand, we had to lift her on and off the commode, we all tried to talk her into going in the hospice as we were worried we wouldn't be able to give her the care she needed, but she said she wanted to die at home with her kids with her, the dr prescribed morphine to help with any pain, when she passed we were all holding her and her cat hayley was snuggled up to her, it was very peaceful and she was in no pain, I am going to miss her so much, we were almost joined at the hip, I'm sorry to pour all this out to you but I thought you would want to know, I hope all is going well your end xx 

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you. Will let you know how things go. Hope your mum feels better today.xx
cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi blestg, I'm so sorry to hear your mums cancer has spread, this disease is evil isn't it, its good that you are spending as much time with your mum as you can, I'm doing the same. You never know what's round the corner. Mums not been too good today, she had no sleep again last night because of the pain in her legs, her breathing was bad tonight and she's hardly eaten today, we've got a nurse coming to see her tomorrow from our local hospice just to see if there is anything she needs so I will have a word about it. I really hope your mum is able to take the hercepin and that is helps her, thinking of you both xx

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi cashmore,  good to hear from you.  I've been thinking about you for a while.  Glad your mum has recovered from the pneumonia and is able to take the cape. she was so poorly last time we spoke. Cancer is really rubbish.  

 

My mum had to stop the chemotherapy. She didn't get to take the docetaxel.  She was exhausted, quality of life was poor and she had to be admitted to hospital with chest pain when she collapsed unconscious.   All very worrying.  The CT scan she had whilst there revealed a 'lesion' on her lung.  When we saw the onc. last week the 'lesion' had become 2 'nodules' one on each lung.  So, despite being on EC for 3 cycles it looks like the cancer has spread.  A shock.  She is going on to Herceptin every 3 weeks if her heart is OK, which she will be on indefinitely. You keep being knocked down don't you!  You think that the cancer is beaten and then you find it has fought back.  Trying to keep positive and am spending as much time with Mum as I can.  I know Herceptin can be effective against HER2+ cancer but one of the worrying side effects can be damage to the heart and cardiac failure has also been reported in some patients.  If her heart isn't up to taking Herceptin I don't know what other treatments would be available to her.  We see the onc. in 2 weeks to get the heart test results and I am praying she will get the go ahead for Herceptin.

 

I wish you and your Mum well.  Keep up the fight xx

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi blestg, this is really weird because I was only wondering about your mum at the weekend and made a mental note to myself to get in touch, I can't remember what was going on with mum the last time we spoke. She had to be taken off the docetaxol as it made her really I'll and ended up in hospital, also when they did the scan the cancer had got a little worse so it was time for a change anyway. She is now on cape, which is in tablet form and she finds it a lot easier to cope with. She doesn't feel I'll but she is struggling with the tiredness, also she's not sleeping very well, when she lays down in bed she gets really aching legs that keep her awake, and she's become quite breathless, she is exhausted, we have to take her everywhere in the wheelchair, she has problems with her legs anyway but its now a lot worse, other than that she's had no other side effects, no sickness or upset tummy, just very tired, how is your mum doing on the docetaxol?,is she coping ok? X

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi Cashmore, been a while and I wondered how you were and how your mum is doing? x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi it is very hard to know what to do for the best. You want the best outcome for your mum but she is the one having to endure the awful side effects and feeling so ill. Have you had a discussion with her oncologist about what to do? My mum likes Lucosade and ginger biscuits if that is any help. She also has frozen fresh pineapple chunks in the fridge which help when she feels queasy and stem ginger also helps. She is eating OK, lost some weight but think that is to be expected . Her skin is starting to show signs of the Chemo not lost her hair yet but we have a wig fitting next week at the Macmillan Centre in the hospital. Think the key is to try and support them as best you can so they do not get depressed. Bought Mum some plants for the garden by mail order and she is looking forward to getting them. When she feels up to it I will arrange a session of aromatherapy with someone I have been in touch with who knows about Mum's medical condition. Hope you are taking care of yourself too it is very very tiring and very stressful looking after your mum going through this treatment. Hope she feels better soon xx
cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

HI blestg, it is indeed very stressfull, you feel so helpless don't you,  we almost called the dr again last night because of her lack of eating, we just need a bit of advice, but she kicked up and said she didn't want any doctors and she wasn't going back to hospital, she's promised she will try her best to eat, I bought some of those vanilla complan meals and she drank half of it, its a start I suppose, how is your mums appetite ?, mum said last night that she isn't having any more chemo because she feels so I'll with it, she may change her mind yet. Sending you and your mum my best wishes x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi so sorry to hear about your Mum. She is going through it isn't she. Chemo is very tough on everyone especially the elderly. I do hope she picks up soon. My mum had her chemo about 10 days ago. She had 2 episodes that needed medical help. The first evening we had to call the paramedics as her temperature dropped she nearly fainted felt sick and had trouble breathing. Shr was taken to hospital a few days later with stomach problems and nearly passed out again. They sorted her out quickly and was able to come home 7 hours later. It has been stressful but apart from being very tired she has not felt sick which was whst she worried about. I dont know how long she will keep going with the treatment. Hopefully we will know what to expect next time. Sorry for delay in reply we are out of the area right now and my phone has patchy internet. I am thinking of you, will becom touch soon xx
cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi blestg, mum had to have another week off from chemo as she had cellulitus in her foot so she started the docetaxel on wenesday, no bad reactions but it has really knocked her sideways, we had to take her to the hospital on Friday with a high temperature, they kept her in over night, she now has pnuemonia and a urine infection, she's on antibiotics. She's feeling sick, has an upset tummy and she is really weak, she's not interested in eating which is really worrying because she has already lost quite a bit of weight, hopefully she will start to feel a little better soon, how is your mum, has she started her chemo yet x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you Mmey for the suggestion and for taking the time to help.  I will certainly discuss it with the oncologist.  I am glad that paxitaxel is working for you. A reduction of the dose was mentioned for my mum, about 75 percent I think.  It is good to know that FEC can be tolerated well by the older patient, especially with the lower dosage.  Mum is very anxious about the side effects so this will give her hope that her treatment will be OK and she will be able to cope.  

 

I wish you well.  Thank you. 

 

BG

 

Mmey
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi

I would ask about weekly paclitaxel as an alternative to docetaxel, because it is a much more gentle regime and so often used in frailer patients.  I'm on it and am considered to be a younger patient at 43, but I have other medical conditions.  I would also ask about dose reductions.  My mother has a friend who is in her late 70's and had FEC-T with a dose reduction.  She coped brilliantly on FEC but the docetaxel was very hard for her and I think she only managed two treatments.

Lizzy_BCC
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi lexilou3, 

 

Thank you for linking to this helpful page and for being so supportive. You can also find further information on Chemotherapy treatment on the Breast Cancer Care page here. 

 

Best wishes, 

 

Lizzy 

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi, LL

 

Thank you for the link.  I've been on the site and the information is really helpful.  It's good to know what could happen on chemo although pretty scary too.  

 

All the best to you too xx

 

 

lexilou3
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Just thought - the link may be helpful,,,

 

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancerinformation/cancertreatment/treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/individual...

 

wishing your loved ones well x x

 

LL

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi BlestG thankfully mum has a week off before the next lot starts, so she can feel a bit more herself hopefully. And thank you LL for the info, I will also have a look xx

 

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi LL thank you for the info, will have a good look.  There is a lot of valuable information out there, it's just knowing where to go for the most relevant to your situation.  Thank you.

lexilou3
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi Ladies,

 

Macmillan website has a handy page about the different chemotherapies & side effects - may be worth a peek. Trusted source - simply put.

 

Good luck

 

LL x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi Cashmore

How is your Mum now?  Hope she is much better.  It must be very worrying for her and you.  I do hope the docetaxel works for her.  

 

Mum is is going to start chemo and we are waiting for the appointment.  It was a difficult decision but we feel she should start the treatment and the oncologist will review it after the first cycle.  The CT scan did not show any tumours thankfully but her cancer is high grade and unresponsive to hormone therapy so chemo will offer her a better prognosis.  If all goes to plan she will also have docetaxel for 3 cycles every 3 weeks like your Mum.  I try to read as much a I can about the treatment for older patients but no one has a crystal ball with all the answers so your just have to trust your instincts and make as informed a decision as you can.  We get to have a tour of the chemo suite next week with a group information session so hopefully we should both feel better about things when we know more about what to expect.

 

I hope your Mum can have a break before her next session and that all goes well for her.  I will keep in touch x

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi BlestG, mum had her third dose of pacitaxel yesterday, unfortunatley she had another bad reaction, worse this week than last, the nurses decided it was too risky to carry on so she now can't have any more of this chemo. We went to see the oncologist today, she's going to try mum on docetaxol which is the sister drug to pacitaxel, she will have it three weekly rather than weekly. I think the side effects are worse with this one and she will definately lose her hair, so I think it will be a trip to the wig factory soon. I hope your mum is ok, please keep me posted x

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi BlasrG, thank you for your reply, I've bought mum a couple of scarfs just incase,  there is quite a few things on yuotube showing differant ways to tie them, we also have a wig factory in our town so we have been looking at there web site and found one similar to her hairstyle if she does lose it, that is the thing she is most worried about because she has lovely thick hair. Someone told me that you can apply for a voucher for a free wig, so will have to find out about that if need be. Hope it goes ok with onc next week x

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi cashmore,

I really appreciate the update from you on your mum.  It is reassuring, even with the severe reaction she had the second time on her chemo treatment, she seems to be doing so well.  It must have been very scary for her and your brother but obviously the nurses have seen this reaction before and knew exactly what to do.  I am so pleased she is not feeling or being sick.  I think my mum is more worried about this possible side effect than losing her hair.

 

We see the oncologist next week when the results of her echocardiogram and CT scan will be known.  Mum is talking positvely about having the chemo treatment now. She even tried on a few head scarves to see what she would like when she loses her hair.  I don't think it is going to be easy but as long as chemo does not make her too poorly I think she will go through with it.  

 

All the best to you and your Mum.  I will keep you updated on Mum's treatment.

So good talking to you x

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi BlestG, just wondering how your mum is getting on and if she has made any decisions about her treatment, mum started her chemo last Wednesday, she's on weekly pacitaxol for three weeks then a week off then it starts again. The first week went pretty smoothly, no side affects other than being extremely tired and feeling like a zombie for three days. She had her second dose this Wednesday but had a really bad reaction while it was being administered, my brother was with her at the time, he said she turned almost purple and couldn't breath, it was really scary for them both but the nurses were brilliant and gave her a few injections and oxygen and within no time she was feeling better. Apparently its quite commen on the second dose of this chemo and they are pretty sure she will not have a bad reaction again. I stayed with her last night and again other than feeling tired she was absolutly fine, the anti sickness tablets they have given her seem to be working wonders and she hasn't lost any hair yet but we are expecting it, I just hope the chemo will get the cancer stable or even better, shrink it, hope to hear from you soon x

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you, I will definately keep in touch, its good to talk to someone in the same situation xx

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hello,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. I think it is just the not knowing that is difficult to deal with.  We just won't know until she tries chemo what the side effects will be and how she will cope.  We are trying to keep optimistic whilst thinking about the problems/difficulties Mum may face whilst on chemo and trying to come up with solutions.  

 

The oncologist has also suggested that Mum has a CT scan to see if the cancer has spread before her treatment.  I guess this is sensible but Mum is now thinking the cancer has spread and is getting anxious.

 

I wish you well with your situation. Keep in touch too.

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you BlestG,  fingers crossed she will get through this nightmare, best wishes to your mum, bless her and hope everything goes well for her whatever she decides to do treatment wise. Its very scary thinking about your mum having to go through all this but what I've read on this site has made me realise there is still a lot of hope xx

BlestG
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Thank you so much for your reply.  I wish your mum all the very best with her treatment, it must be really difficult for you all.  Yes, I think we do have to have faith in our oncologist and their team.  I have found the BCC website invaluable as I knew very little about breast cancer and its treatment before Mum was diagnosed.  The information has been so helpful when trying to make difficult decisions.

 

I am just beginning to realise how many families are effected by cancer.   Do let me know how your Mum gets on.  I hope all goes well today.

cashmore1
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hi there, I am new to this forum, but have read quite a lot of the threads which has given me a bit more hope for my mum, she is 78 and diagnosed with breast cancer in jan, she had a mastectomy and lymph node removel in feb, which she sailed through and had been feeling really well, so when we were told it had spread to her liver and lung we were in total shock. She was given letrozole for a month but it didn't help at all, so she was told she needed chemo, we wrer a little unsure if she should goo for it because she feels so well and chemo makes you feel so unwell but the oncologist said if we leave it too long the cancer in her liver would be too big to treat so mum agreed to have it, she is going to be on three weekly pacitaxel with one week of to rest, she is starting it tomorrow, we are all so worried about how she will cope with the side affects. But I suppose we just have to take the advice of the oncologist as they are the experts and just be there for our mums and do what we can to help them x

 

lexilou3
Member

Re: Chemotherapy for the elderly

Hello,
I have no experience of this, but am sure if you contact the helpline you will get some great advice.
A multidisciplinaryteam (MDT) should have reviewed all the info re your mum and plotted the best course of action for her considering all angles but maybe ask for a second opinion? Breast cancer has many different types, this is why planning treatments is so specifuc to each person.
Good luck, do not be pushed or hurried to make decisions, but also be aware they are trying to provide the best care in their view for your Mum.
Keep in tiuch.
LL xx
BlestG
Member

Chemotherapy for the elderly

Mum is nearly 83.  She has had a mastectomy and sentinel node removal recently for an invasive tumour which is grade 3, HER2 positive and one intrammamry breast node was found to have vascular invasion with micrometasis.  She was referred to an oncologist post surgery who has suggested chemotherapy FEC-T followed by Herceptin. This has been a shock.  We expected the surgery to give her the all-clear.  

 

We need to make a decision in the next 2 weeks about treament.  I am concerned about the side effects of chemo on an elderly patient.  She is not particularly frail but has a number of medical issues which are not life-threatening.  The oncologist said she will remove the 'F' element of the chemo treatment as this was more likely to affect her heart (she has high blood pressure which is managed).  

 

Does anyone have any experience of chemotherapy for the elderly?  As well as the physical effects, I am also concerned about the emotional effects.  I am Mum's primary carer and advice would be really appreciated. Thank you.