Barbaric breast cancer treatment

jakeca
jakeca Member Posts: 92
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
For those of us who think that current breast cancer treatment is terrible, just listen to the story my older sister told me about our grandmother. Somewhere around 1940, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. How they figured it out, I don't know. She had to go halfway across the state for treatment, which at that time was a challenge. My dad went with her. (He is now deceased, so I can't ask him for any more details.) Several years ago, my sister asked him to tell her about it. He could hardly talk about it--he cried the whole time he was telling her. He related to my sister how he stood outside the door of his mother's treatment room and listened to her screams as they used acid to remove the tumor. I don't know any details, other than it was horrible. She died two years later of pancreatic and liver cancer.

Makes my chemo and radiation seem like a cakewalk.

I plan to try to research this subject to find out more about cancer treatment during that era.

Comments

  • tasha_111
    tasha_111 Member Posts: 2,072
    Barbaric
    My Word! That's just awful! Keep us posted. Thanks Jxxxx
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    tasha_111 said:

    Barbaric
    My Word! That's just awful! Keep us posted. Thanks Jxxxx

    I will have nightmares
    I wonder how many women even went to get treatment or if they would rather just die? No one can stand that kind of pain for very long. I know it was 20 years ago and they didn't have anything for nausea and side-effects of chemo. I watched my mom and told people i thought i would just rather die in my own good time rather than fight it like that and die anyway. Thank the Lord that times have changed that. It is hard enough the way it is. I can't imagine!!
    God Bless
    Jackie
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    It was 35 years ago when my
    It was 35 years ago when my mom was first dx with breast cancer and she had a double radical mastectomy that left her with diagonal scars that went for her rib area up to just below her neck on both sides of her chest. It was extremely concaved and caused her much mental anguish. I used to take her to her chemo which was and hour and a half away, enroute she would be her funny loving self but on the way home after treatment she would be in the back seat vomiting all the way home. She would be sooo sick for at least a week and talk about listlessness after 18 rounds of chemo I was never that listless. Treatment for breast cancer has come a long way, it amazes me! My mastectomy scar was simply a straight line across my chest and not unsightly either, simply missing a breast. My mom fought cancer 4 times and lived 24 year after her first dx, she had many happy years and lived a good life. Through her example I have learned we can still have a good life even while fighting cancer.

    Many Hugs,

    RE
  • cem
    cem Member Posts: 6
    In the historic movie series
    In the historic movie series about the life of John Adams, his daugher finds a lump and they give her a drink of alcohol and a piece of wood to bite down on as they saw off her breast. Pretty graphic. So, if we have to have cancer, thank goodness we live today and not in the 1700's!
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    cem said:

    In the historic movie series
    In the historic movie series about the life of John Adams, his daugher finds a lump and they give her a drink of alcohol and a piece of wood to bite down on as they saw off her breast. Pretty graphic. So, if we have to have cancer, thank goodness we live today and not in the 1700's!

    If that was me, they'd have
    If that was me, they'd have to catch me first. That piece of wood would have been part of the sawer's anatomy.

    My son said this is an old IT saying: If all you know how to use is a hammer, then everything you see will look like a nail.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    cem said:

    In the historic movie series
    In the historic movie series about the life of John Adams, his daugher finds a lump and they give her a drink of alcohol and a piece of wood to bite down on as they saw off her breast. Pretty graphic. So, if we have to have cancer, thank goodness we live today and not in the 1700's!

    Ancient Mastectomies
    They've been doing mastectomies since the 16th century. There's an old wood cut of two men holding down a woman as a doctor hacks away at her breast. In BC times they didn't perform surgery but waited for the tumor to break through the skin. Then they would burn it with a firebrand. Fun stuff, huh?
  • jakeca
    jakeca Member Posts: 92
    tasha_111 said:

    Barbaric
    My Word! That's just awful! Keep us posted. Thanks Jxxxx

    Probably true
    I asked my oncologist today if it was really possible that they used acid to remove breast tumors during that era and he said yes. He had a scientific term for it which I didn't catch, but he said they actually used the acid to eat the skin away and eat clear down to the tumor. I can't even imagine. What I don't understand is why they couldn't have put her to sleep for the procedure. I'm sure they had ether for surgical procedures then.

    When I was first diagnosed last September, my first reaction was, "Thank God it is me and not one of my children or grandchildren." My second thought was, "Thank goodness it is now and not twenty years ago when my kids were small and they didn't know as much as they do now about how to treat it." Boy! I didn't realize how true that is. We've come a long, baby.
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    mimivac said:

    Ancient Mastectomies
    They've been doing mastectomies since the 16th century. There's an old wood cut of two men holding down a woman as a doctor hacks away at her breast. In BC times they didn't perform surgery but waited for the tumor to break through the skin. Then they would burn it with a firebrand. Fun stuff, huh?

    Radiation
    I know of a woman who had either ovarian or uterine cancer 30+ yrs ago. She was treated with radiation. A couple of years ago she went to the doctor for stomache pain and the doctor ask her when she had had a hysteroctomy (sp?). She told them that she hadn't. The radiation completely distroyed her reproductive system. Now that is some strong stuff, but they must have done something right.