3 years since diagnosis
Age at interview: 66
Tina (66 years old), is married and has 5 adult children. She was on CPP disability for other reasons when she was diagnosed.
Tina was diagnosed in 2012 and is currently in remission. She found a lump in her breast and initially thought it was a fibrous cyst as she had had them before. She stopped drinking coffee to see if the lump would disappear. After two months Tina decided to see a doctor. She was then sent for a mammography, ultrasound and biopsy. Tina knew deep inside it would be breast cancer and did not feel upset when the doctor gave her the diagnosis. After intensive discussion with the surgeon, she decided that she would rather have a double mastectomy and radiotherapy. Tina declined the proposed chemotherapy as she did not think she would be able to undergo and tolerate the therapy given her own health status. Tina also tried hormones for two months but stopped as she was feeling too ill. The oncologist stopped seeing her at that point as her formal treatment had ended. It was suggested that she continue the mammography but she had difficulty understanding the purpose of a mammography after a double mastectomy, where there was hardly any skin left to screen. Tina is now monitored regularly by her surgeon. Tina explained how she was accepting of the diagnosis straight from the beginning and how she feels it is important that everybody makes her own personal decisions with regards to the proposed treatments.
- Talking to children about cancer – TinaTina told some of her grandchildren but opted not to tell the youngest two. However, this led to a difficult situation.
- Perspectives on treatment pathways – TinaBecause of her weakened immune system Tina decided against chemotherapy. Her intuition helped guide her decision-making.
- Surgery – TinaTina felt that she wanted both breasts removed; subsequent tests found a different cancer in her left breast as well as the right.
- First symptoms – TinaHaving had a previous history of fibrous cysts, Tina was not too worried when she noticed lumps.