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Chemotherapy in old age
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Chemotherapy in old age

My mother is 82 years old and has just been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  The oncologist nearby wants to give her chemotherapy, but we are still waiting to hear whether her medical aid will pay for it (R20 000 per treatment and apparently she will need 4 to 6 treatments).  My dad died of pancreatic cancer 8 years ago and I can still remember the pain and suffering he went through with his chemotherapy treatments!  My question:  is it worth the while to put my mom of 82 through such an ordeal and will she survive chemotherapy?  She also suffers from Alzheimer's and won't even know why she is so ill.  At this moment she is not aware of anything wrong with her.  Please help me decide what we as a family should do?
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Hi,
It would help if you could provide some information regarding the stage of the cancer, the hormone receptor status (ER/PR) and the HER-2 status. Has your mother undergone surgery to remove the tumor? Has any other treatment been done for the cancer? Chemotherapy has been shown to be useful in aggressive breast cancers but it does have a lot of side effects. For an elderly person with Alzheimer's disease the risk versus benefit has to be carefully weighed before making a decision to start chemotherapy. If the ER/PR is positive, hormonal therapy may be helpful and it has much less toxicity.
All the best and God Bless!
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