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Views And Reviews

It’s time to call time on the “end of treatment” bell

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 18 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4236
  1. Jo Taylor, founder
  1. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
  1. jo{at} 
    Follow Jo on Twitter @abcdiagnosis

For patients with recurrent cancer or still undergoing treatment, hearing this bell being rung is upsetting and demoralising, says Jo Taylor

I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2007 and since then I’ve had many rounds of chemotherapy. I am currently attending a chemotherapy unit every three weeks. The treatment I’m having is given intravenously through my portacath (a permanent indwelling intravenous line).

Last week, a patient’s relative thought that I was a “newbie” after someone helped me with my spilt cup of tea. I was tethered, as usual, to the IV but was being lazy by not unplugging the monitor and stretching to reach the paper towel, so she kindly helped. Normally I whizz around with ease, and after five years of training with the monitor I use it like a partner in a waltz. I overheard another patient say, “She’s on her 87th treatment!” with her relative repeating “87th?”

Yes, it’s unusual to have undergone so much treatment, and over such a long time, but increasingly people have …

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