Cancer support thread

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
Searched to see if there was anything like this but didn’t spot anything, apologies if there is one and please merge if I missed it.

there's a few threads here for various issues but this is a big one, one that sadly hits far too many of us these days!!

So my mum told my brother and myself last week that she had found a lump in her breast that was being investigates. Fast track to friday this week and it’s been confirmed.Grade 3 cancer in her breast and also encapsulated cancer in her lymph nodes

seems it’s been caught fairly early and prognosis is positive, at this stage she has around an 80% survival chance so we are all in a positive frame of mind

she will have a masectomy in the coming weeks and Chemo so will go through the horrible side of seeing her go through that but in our minds it’s a means to an end.

she will come through this, she will survive and we will make sure that as a family we help her however we can to get her there

i hope this thread can be a place to talk, a place to listen and a place for support. I’ve seen this forum be an incredible place that has helped so many beyond the internet so let’s make that work for anyone going through this horrible disease

I’ve recently started running and I’m aiming to compete the Chester half marathon in May and raise money for cancer awareness. To me it’s a big thing as my legs are falling apart as o try to run. Knee issues, hip issues, you name it, all pales into insignificance and I will achieve it!!!
 

BB3Lions

Distinguished Member
Similar situation, my wife found a lump last week, we go in Tuesday.

Hopefully like your Mum, its been caught early enough.

The big C, takes anyone at anytime. fudge cancer.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
Similar situation, my wife found a lump last week, we go in Tuesday.

Hopefully like your Mum, its been caught early enough.

The big C, takes anyone at anytime. fudge cancer.
keep us posted here mate!

ive found that I know I can talk to my family but sometimes I open up more on forums like this than anywhere else.

keeping everything crossed for you :)
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
As someone who has had cancer and still suffers the effects of the treatment I hope I can add my twopence worth to any questions folks might have.
But it is a bit of a lottery as to the standard of care one might receive. I found that there was a lot of arrogance from the some consultants who seem feel that answering questions beneath them. My particular health board, now under 'Special Measures' was pretty poor overall with the provision of information on all aspects of the treatment and the effects of the treatment.

So my first advice is ask questions and do not be satisfied until you feel you fully understand the answer.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
As someone who has had cancer and still suffers the effects of the treatment I hope I can add my twopence worth to any questions folks might have.
But it is a bit of a lottery as to the standard of care one might receive. I found that there was a lot of arrogance from the some consultants who seem feel that answering questions beneath them. My particular health board, now under 'Special Measures' was pretty poor overall with the provision of information on all aspects of the treatment and the effects of the treatment.

So my first advice is ask questions and do not be satisfied until you feel you fully understand the answer.
thanks and much appreciated, hopefully some will take you up in the offer of advice

we are somewhat fortunate here in that we have one of the best centres in the UK for cancer Care at the clatterbridge centre for oncology and so far they have been brilliant, hopefully that continues
 

DIYlady

Distinguished Member
I’ve had breast cancer, grade 3, stage 3. Was given a 50/50 chance. Had chemo, which seemed to go on forever, double mastectomy, radio therapy, various extra drugs and am still on an oestrogen inhibitor. It’s 5 1/2 years since I was diagnosed; slightly under 4 1/2 years since I officially finished treatment, but I still get checkups every 3 months.

Everyone’s experience is different but most of us have a pretty rough ride and some side effects of treatment never entirely go away. However, I’m still here and can do most things I want to do (I can’t speak French, but then as I couldn’t before either that’s not a big surprise ;) )

Feel free to ask anything that you want (somehow it’s easier on a forum). I have been on here much lately but will try and drop in.
 

BT Bob

Well-known Member
Mrs BTB had breast cancer over 20 years ago and then the double whammy of (unrelated) bowel cancer in 2016. She survived both - had a lumpectomy for the breast cancer and the only after-effects are one boob a little smaller than the other and a loss of sensation in a mall patch of skin under her arm on that side; the bowel cancer was caught (by-chance) very early and the only after-effects being a fructose intolerance, so she has sort avoid fruit and too much fibre (flying in the face of most dietary advice).

I think catching it early is key to survival and as positive-an-outlook as possible helps.

From what I saw in 2016, I would say always make sure she has someone with her when she visits the hospital for treatment and for consultations/check-ups and write things down - questions you want to ask - in-advance.. They throw so much info at you it's hard to take in, so a second-pair of ears is invaluable,

Best wishes and good luck to your mum and your family.
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
Great tip about writing questions down as I found that it was always when I could not sleep that questions I felt I should have asked came to me.

Bit late now but I use Google Keep, (other note taking apps are available) and keep a note of symptoms and questions given that it can take a while to get a Dr's appointment and it is certainly useful when I see my ENT consultant if I can refer to my notes.
 
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le4thab

Active Member
I had Stage 2AE Hodgkin Lymphoma 7 years ago. Was caught early. "Symptoms" were what caused diagnosis but were not really symptoms. I understand it is not the same cancer, but feel free to ask any questions. There has been some good advise here already regarding writing down questions. I always had my other half to come with me to any appointments which was a great help. She also helped in noticing changes in me, that were often the onset of problems. The biggest thing is to keep calm. I understand its stupid to say it, but keep calm and take every day as it comes. There will be ups and downs, it just knowing how to deal with them and make the person struggling feel better.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
Results of her scan came through today and it hasn’t spread anywhere else so prognosis is really positive

Chemo will start in the next couple of weeks to reduce tumour sizes and then they will excercise via mastectomy
 

BT Bob

Well-known Member
Results of her scan came through today and it hasn’t spread anywhere else so prognosis is really positive
Without trivialising your and your mum's situation, you'll all breathe a little easier and sleep a little sounder tonight.

These small plusses are the things that keep people going I think.

I recall one radiotherapy session my wife went to (around 30 of the 36 scheduled) and she was longer than usual. When she came out she explained that they had to keep moving her on the Linac machine because they couldn't line up the target site properly because the tumour had shrunk and they were struggling to find it. The pair of us sat in the car and blubbed like babies.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
Without trivialising your and your mum's situation, you'll all breathe a little easier and sleep a little sounder tonight.

These small plusses are the things that keep people going I think.

I recall one radiotherapy session my wife went to (around 30 of the 36 scheduled) and she was longer than usual. When she came out she explained that they had to keep moving her on the Linac machine because they couldn't line up the target site properly because the tumour had shrunk and they were struggling to find it. The pair of us sat in the car and blubbed like babies.
You’re right

when I spoke to my mum she said “if you can be happy with cancer then I am”

she said she was grinning when she left the appointment and basically hugged the consultant and the Macmillan nurse 😁
 

BB3Lions

Distinguished Member
Update, the wifes lump(s) were cysts, and apparently it's common with women of a certain age :)

Having said that, the stress was unbearable.
 

BT Bob

Well-known Member
Update, the wifes lump(s) were cysts, and apparently it's common with women of a certain age :)
Great news - but be VERY careful with that last phrase..... :laugh: :facepalm:
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
OK folks, not spoke about this in a while..
My dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2017. For me at least, it was out of the blue.

The radio and chemo went well, the operation to remove a section of the bowel went well.
A stoma bag was fitted, expected to be for up to 3 months.
The bag stayed for a very long time.
Dad learned to deal with it, like he does everything.
Then he got fed up putting his life on hold and started taking holidays again! 😂

16 months after the bag was fitted, he has been told he is in remission and he goes back in to hospital, today, and has had the stoma bag removed.
Currently sleeping off the Op and waiting for a bed on the ward, the tough old dog is doing well.
Consultant said he'll be in hospital for 3 days to a week. My money is on him coming out on Monday! 😁

He has a Whisky Party planned for in a few weeks and hours to go back to running the keep fit class he was running before the diagnosis.. He's 66 years old now, but no one has told him..

So folks, fingers crossed and chins up...
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
Results of her scan came through today and it hasn’t spread anywhere else so prognosis is really positive

Chemo will start in the next couple of weeks to reduce tumour sizes and then they will excercise via mastectomy
That’s great news, the best you could expect given the circumstances. I wish you both well.

As you may have seen in my thread in GC, my mum has stage 4 terminal lung cancer and treatment was recently stopped. At the age of 61, it’s a bitter pill to swallow but we’re all doing what we can. She’s still active enough to enjoy whatever time she has left.

Also, 2 days ago one of my friends got to ring the bell at the cancer unit to symbolise the end of her treatment. She was diagnosed with cancer in her nasal passage just before Christmas, and went through chemo, followed by 35 straight days of radiotherapy. She was 40 last month, so hopefully she finally has something to celebrate.
 

WeeScottishLass

Well-known Member
That’s great news, the best you could expect given the circumstances. I wish you both well.

As you may have seen in my thread in GC, my mum has stage 4 terminal lung cancer and treatment was recently stopped. At the age of 61, it’s a bitter pill to swallow but we’re all doing what we can. She’s still active enough to enjoy whatever time she has left.

Also, 2 days ago one of my friends got to ring the bell at the cancer unit to symbolise the end of her treatment. She was diagnosed with cancer in her nasal passage just before Christmas, and went through chemo, followed by 35 straight days of radiotherapy. She was 40 last month, so hopefully she finally has something to celebrate.
Her nasal passage? The poor thing! Cancer really can get you anywhere 😢

My mum died from breast cancer 20 years ago so I I know how devastating a disease it can be- my heart goes out to all of you affected by it.
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
Her nasal passage? The poor thing! Cancer really can get you anywhere 😢

My mum died from breast cancer 20 years ago so I I know how devastating a disease it can be- my heart goes out to all of you affected by it.
Yes, she had to have some teeth out too, it’s an absolutely awful disease.:(
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
Great tip about writing questions down as I found that it was always when I could not sleep that questions I felt I should have asked came to me.

Bit late now but I use Google Keep, (other note taking apps are available) and keep a note of symptoms questions given that it can take a while to get a Dr's appointment and it is certainly useful when I see my ENT consultant if I can refer to my notes.
Indeed. I have chemobrain as one of my side effects. It affects both my memory and concentration. I thought I was coming down with some form of dementia. It was MacMillan who told me it was probably chemobrain rather than dementia. I was struggling with memory issues quite early on in the treatment so writing down everything is a very good idea.

I'm a lot better now but still have to write myself reminders.

Bri
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
Indeed. I have chemobrain as one of my side effects. It affects both my memory and concentration. I thought I was coming down with some form of dementia. It was MacMillan who told me it was probably chemobrain rather than dementia. I was struggling with memory issues quite early on in the treatment so writing down everything is a very good idea.

I'm a lot better now but still have to write myself reminders.

Bri
Chemo brain was yet another possible side effect of my throat cancer treatment along with Tinnitus, Hypothyroidism, permanent loss of senses of taste and damage to saliva glands that my arrogant consultant felt I did not need to know.
 

sergiup

Distinguished Member
Genuine question for those who've had the misfortune of going through this - what made you think "hey, I should get this checked out"? My biggest fear is that I may not even realise that I have something wrong until it's quite advanced (same for my wife really), especially since we're not really whingers and we tend to just get on with things unless it's obviously something bad.
 
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MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
My biggest fear is that I may not even realise that I have something wrong until it's quite advanced (same for my wife really).
I was totally unaware that anything was amiss except that I had a lump on my neck which was not giving me any problems. I went to see a GP a young locum about something else who noticed the lump and felt it was something that needed to be looked at given my heavy smoking/drinking lifestyle. Saw a consultant that took a sample of the fluid within the lump shortly thereafter I went for a biopsy, the rest as they say is history.
 

WeeScottishLass

Well-known Member
Chemo brain was yet another possible side effect of my throat cancer treatment along with Tinnitus, Hypothyroidism, permanent loss of senses of taste and damage to saliva glands that my arrogant consultant felt I did not need to know.
Your consultant didn't tell you any of those things? That's terrible! 🙁
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
Chemo brain was yet another possible side effect of my throat cancer treatment along with Tinnitus, Hypothyroidism, permanent loss of senses of taste and damage to saliva glands that my arrogant consultant felt I did not need to know.
My experience during the treatment was far better than your own. Having spoken to yourself and a few others I now regard myself as having been remarkably lucky and fortunate. I've actually recovered quite well. Five years ago today I was in the second week of my treatment for stage 3 mouth cancer. I was warned about most of the side effects you mentioned but not chemobrain. I've met many people who went through the same/similar treatment and I've yet to meet anyone else with chemobrain. I think the medical staff only warn about the most common side effects. If they told you everything you might get it could put you off having the treatment in the first place. My taste buds and saliva glands don't work quite as well as they used to so I've had to adjust my diet. I also have to avoid some foods as they bring on acid reflux.

One weird thing has happened to me. I had a wart on my cheek. After getting it confirmed it was just a wart my doctor said she would normally recommend having it surgically removed but to check with my cancer doctors first. The cancer doctors said it wasn't advisable because of the damage to my skin from the radiotherapy. So I just put up with it but it kept on getting bigger and bigger. My wife found a few online sites recommending covering it with duct tape as a cure. Much to my amazement it worked. It said to cover it for 6 days. It was still there but much smaller but 2 more goes got rid of it. Apparently it doesn't work for everyone but I will be advising the staff when I go for my next cancer check up at the end of the month. It just shows that the Doctors don't know everything.

Bri
 

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