- Question from Terry: I'm 70 and have been diagnosed with IBC. I do not wish at my age to have chemotherapy or radiation unless it is beam radiation. Are there any non-surgical treatments? I have been told I will die if I don't have either surgery, chemo, radiation or a combination of all. Quality of life is more important that quantity. Any suggestions appreciated.
- Answers - Thomas Buchholz Terry, I'm sorry to hear about your condition, because I realize it is difficult no matter which way you go. For healthy women who are 70 we still recommend aggressive treatment because inflammatory breast cancer left untreated or just partially treated can have bad effects both on your quality and quantity of life. Radiation treatment alone was tried in the 1970s before chemotherapy was available and most patients had rapid disease progression. Seventy is now considered a young age, and if you're healthy I would still consider seeing a medical oncologist and carefully discussing the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. It may be that some of your fears of chemotherapy are due to misinformation and after getting a comprehensive discussion, you'll be well informed to make the best decision for you.
- Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, M.D., F.A.C.P. The life expectancy of a healthy 70-year-old woman in the U.S. is 16 years. The average survival of a person with untreated inflammatory breast cancer is less than 2 years.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Inflammatory Breast Cancer featured Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., Thomas Buchholz, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D. answering your questions about inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2006.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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