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Ask an Expert is a free question-and-answer service about breast cancer and breast health that is available on weekends. If you'd like to ask a question or comment, please visit us again on Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, please search the existing topics using the search tool at the top of the page. It's quite possible that one of our many existing topics already addresses your question.

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Family Support
Questions about breast cancer & family support.
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AskedPublicly Submitted Question
8/22/2014My mom is 90 years old and was diagnosed last week with invasive ductal carcinoma. The diagnosis and recommendation of having both breasts removed even though only one has IDC, was posted online. The soonest available appointment we could get for a consultation with an oncologist is in 2 weeks. My mom has always been in good health and active but I'm afraid the cure will do her in before the cancer does. What type of questions should I ask the oncologist or how do I educate myself on this disease to help make the best decisions for my mom? I don't know any 90 year olds who've had breast cancer, do you? If so, did they survive it?
RepliedJHU's Breast Center Reply
8/23/2014Her overall health and wellbeing must be factored in here. it seems very very odd to be recommending a bilateral mastectomy for someone age 90. The healthy breast doesn't warrant surgery. For elderly women, it is not unusual to go on hormonal therapy (anti-estrogen therapy) if the tumor is estrogen receptor positive. in some cases surgery isn't even needed, instead just this pill once a day. In other cases surgery to do a lumpectomy is done if the tumor is relatively small. if you want to bring her to us, do. 443-997-8282. you are correct that aggressive surgery could do more harm than good.

Please note: This service is not intended to provide primary medical advice concerning specific medical care or treatment. Ask an Expert is a free service operated by health care professionals at the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. Due to the volume of questions and their complexity, there are times when medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists or oncology nurses are consulted for their input. These individuals volunteer their time for this service and will respond as soon as they are able. Please do not post or send the same question to us in multiple locations or categories.

The contents of this portion of the website cannot be used as a substitute for a consultation with your doctor or other healthcare provider. It also may not represent the opinions of other Johns Hopkins professionals. It is a free service performed on volunteer time and intended to provide feedback to questions posted by consumers however should not be used as a directive or instructions to now follow. Seeing your own medical provider is always important in getting your needs and questions addressed. In the majority of cases, a clinical examination, review of pathology slides and xrays, along with other medical information is needed to truly provide a consultative service. If you wish to receive a formal consultation with our physicians please call 443-997-8282 for surgical appointments and 410-955-8964 for medical or radiation oncology appts. For breast imaging, call 410-955-4100.


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