O (ozqueen) wrote in little_details,

breast cancer going untreated

Hi everyone - I'm hoping you can help me!

I'm looking for information on what a woman might go through after she is diagnosed with breast cancer. In canon, this character dies quite quickly after being diagnosed, but there are very few details on her illness or her death. (It mostly deals with the aftermath).

I've tried to search various breast cancer websites, blogs and charities, but most of them all include details of the side-effects of treatment. The character I am writing for refuses treatment, so I'm not sure if many of the symptoms still apply.

As the cancer progresses, would she suffer fatigue?  Dizziness? Loss of appetite?  Is it likely she would lose weight?  Or is it possible she could go through no real physical "noticeable" changes?  I suppose it would depend where the cancer spreads?

She dies within a few months of diagnoses, (five or six months), so what symptoms is she likely to be suffering?  She's got a five-month old daughter - is it plausible she could dismiss changes in her breast as things that occur during pregnancy?  Or are breast changes during/after pregnancy too different for her to properly dismiss any concern?

Is it more likely for her to slip into a coma towards the end? Would it/could it be more sudden, like just in her (regular) sleep?

I've found a few websites that deal with patients refusing treatment, but most of them are designed to offer advice for relatives and survivors of the patient. They don't actually deal with what the patient is likely to go through.

I'm not sure if my search terms are good enough to get me what I want, either, but I'm not sure how to really phrase my question. So far I've just tried combinations of 'breast cancer' with 'refusing/refused treatment' and other words like 'tired', 'appetite', 'symptoms', 'stages', etc. Most of the websites this has led me to include how to find the cancer, what the treatment is and how the patient feels after the treatment.

If you need further clarification, please ask.  I'm not sure I've worded this very well.

EDIT:  Thanks, everyone :)  I've tweaked a few things and your stories and extra help with the keywords really, really helped out. I really appreciate it :)

Tags: ~medicine: illnesses: cancers
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