Although the majority of women survive breast cancer to live for many good years, for some the journey ends with the cancer taking over.
If this is happening to you, at some stage you may need to decide whether to stop fighting the cancer with active treatment (such as chemotherapy), and rely on palliative care to make your remaining days and weeks as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
Your healthcare team and those closest to you will be very important in making this decision, although at the end of the day, it has to be whatever feels to you to be the best.
See here for our section on palliative care.
Some of the websites we refer to have suggestions and help for you at this time.
BREASTCANCER.ORG looks at the dilemmas faced by someone deciding whether to carry on with active anti-cancer treatment (although what it has to say about financial considerations and hospice care is more relevant to the USA).
Willow considers various options for end-of-life care
For those living in remote communities, the options are more limited. The only hospice care in NWT is in Yellowknife, for example, and going to hospital, for your final days, or for respite care, may mean travelling a long way from family and friends. It is therefore especially important that you discuss the options with your loved ones and healthcare team to work out what can best be managed to ease your passing.
The booklet First Nations: Caring for the Terminally Ill was written for people living in small and remote communities and it looks at emotional and spiritual matters, as well as many very practical issues, such as caring for someone who is in bed all the time. Although written for aboriginal people, it has information and advice relevant to those from other cultures, both for the dying person, and their care-givers.