Timing of Adjuvant Chemo after Surgery

Kevin Knopf, MD Health Guide
  • Something not to worry about:

    No Need to Rush Adjuvant Chemotherapy after Surgery

    We have always had uncertainty about how long one can “safely” wait following surgery to start adjuvant chemotherapy, which is designed to increase a woman’s chance of cure. There is a psychological desire to get started “right away”. However sometimes it helps to take time to take a deep breath, get away for a long weekend (or a week), or a family event may have been planned.

    Traditionally I had urged patients to start their chemotherapy within 8 weeks of surgery (which was based on the standards used in large clinical trials on which the chemotherapy is based).
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    Now a nicely done study in British Columbia of 2,594 women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy shows one can probably wait up to 12 weeks – but no longer – after surgery. I’m still sticking by my 8 week rule, but if there were a graduation at the 9th week at least I feel comfortable bending the rule.
Published On: November 29, 2006