She is now 75 and has FTD with aphasia. It is not that I don't want to keep her healthy but I am concerned with what to do should it come back positive. I don't think she would comply with the treatment and if she did it might be too rough for her. I would like to hear your opinions on this. I have full guardianship and can make whatever decision is necessary.

A wise geriatrician told me "If you aren't going to do the treatment, then don't do the test".

This was in response to a few atypical cells being found in fluid drained from around mom's lungs. The oncologist at the hospital she was in scheduled a bone marrow biopsy. Mom was 89, had CHF and Mild Cognitive Impairment. She was not going to agree to chemo or radiation or anything other than comfort.  We didn't do the biopsy.

OldSailor, we know how much you love your wife. You are not being neglectful. You are being sensible and loving.
Helpful Answer (26)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

I think it's criminal that doctors are recommending mammograms for seniors in their 80s and 90s, particularly those with dementia and Alzheimers. A pure money grab in my opinion. Or incredibly misinformed doctors. It' makes my blood boil. No, OldSailor, your wife doesn't need a mammogram or any other kind of preventative test. You're a wonderful husband to be concerned about it.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to blannie

My mom had dementia and was on a wheelchair. I couldn't believe it when dad said that the doctor wanted mom to have a mammo. The statistics of trying to tell someone with dementia to Not move, hold your breath, and Not Move as their breast is being squashed??? But dad insisted. And guess who was chosen to go in with mom to help her? Me! Not my dad who insisted on following the doctor's request and not speaking up to the doctor.

I rolled mom in. I told the tech that I don't think it's possible to do a mammo on mom. She said that it's been done with other patients. Well, we tried and tried to get mom's breast in between those 2 plates. But she was not having it. She kept wiggling. In the end, the technician gave up.

Reading the above comments, I like what that wise geriatrician said. It makes sense. If you're not planning to go through the treatments, then it's best to not do the mammo.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to bookluvr

Nope, nope, nope.
Mammograms HURT.
How in the world would she handle any type of treatment if anything was found?
I believe there is a point at which various medical tests and procedures should taper off.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to XenaJada

I no longer do the screening. My family know this.

It was my choice for two reasons.
One - it always hurt.
Two - I have no intention of being poked or prodded. I will have nothing intrusive or invasive.
All I want is to be comfortable (as best they can) and still keep some dignity.

Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to BuzzyBee

I think it would be extremely helpful to have a palliative care professional help you make health care decisions for your wife going forward. What are your goals for your wife's health? A good palliative care consultant can help you evaluate any procedure that is recommended to you both with the focus being your goals.

I would not get screening mammograms if I had FTD.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Marcia7321

My mother stopped all her preventative testing about 15 years ago, she didn’t have Dementia then, it was just her choice. She was in the ER last September for bleeding she couldn’t do the Vaginal Ultra Sound and the GYN wanted her to come to her office anddo a biopsy, radiation/chemo...I said no. My mom wouldn’t understand and then to go through the healing process. That probably wouldn’t turn out well. 
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to LisaNJ

OldSailor, in some cases women do want to have a mammogram just for "peace of mind".

My own Mom was like that because her sister had passed from breast cancer over 45 years old, so my Mom was scared it would happen to her. So Mom kept having mammograms up into her late 90's. I know, totally ridiculous to go through all of that.

It was my Mom who insisted, even though her GYN said she no longer needed them. It wasn't easy, as it took two techs to handle my very frail, hard of hearing, fall risk Mom.

I had breast cancer but it was caught early, had major surgery, no chemo or radiation, but the daily pill I had to take for 5 years caused major, and I mean major side effects. I really believe with someone who had dementia, the surgery alone would put that person into the next phase of dementia, and those pills would make life miserable.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to freqflyer

[Reflexively crossing my arms over my chest..]


You can ask whoever bathes her to run a discreet check, if you like. What to look/feel for is widely available on the internet.

I would never discourage anyone, particularly anyone with a relevant family history, from getting a mammogram if they will find it reassuring. But I have said before: I'm not sticking my t**s in a mangle to amuse anyone. I check regularly instead.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Countrymouse

Okay the jury verdict is in. No mamogram. I will inform our PCP of our decision. I am sure he will agree with us.
My intentions are to keep her as long and make as comfortable as possible. I have heard that people with these diseases will die from one of two things. Either the disease or no being able to tell us of other medical problems.
I don't want make things more complicated they are already.
Thank you all so very much for your comments. I do appreciate them.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to OldSailor

See All Answers
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter