Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Just Diagnosed with Cancer? Chat with Experts

Saturday, September 06, 2008 debbie, Community Member, asks

Q: how soon after being diagnosed with breast cancer should treatment start

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/ 6/08 1:25pm

Debbie, there are a HUGE number of variables at play. Are you having surgery first, or chemo, or radiation? What kind of cancer, how aggressive, lymph nodes involved/not, and what stage will help determine the order of treatments. They may want to do just the biopsy, then go right to surgery as soon afterwards as they can schedule a surgeon (which may be weeks). They may want other tests - ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, bone scan... all of which take time. they may decide to do chemo first; then they need to find you a slot for that. It's complicated! I'd say that active treatment SHOULD hopefully start within a month or so after diagnosis. But even that happens in fits and starts. If you have a lumpectomy, they may need to go back in and do it again. If it still doesn't work, they may need to schedule a mastectomy. And for all of those surgeries, youneed to wait your turn for the operating room. FYI, I was diagnosed with cancer May 10, had three surgeries, and finally started chemo on Aug. 30...

 

One thing I can tell you - breast cancer is generally very slow growing. By the time a tumor shows up on the mammogram, or can be felt, yoou've probably had it for 8 years or so. So don't panic about the wait. I'd be concerned if they're just making you wait without any plans in place, e.g., "We'll call you soon to let you know the plan." Get on their case, if that happens. But if they give you dates, and they happen to be awhile from now, I'm sure they've assessed your case and are doing what's right for you. Good luck - PJH

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Anita Dextraze, Community Member
6/18/11 10:35am

It has only been two week since i talked to the

surgeon.  I guess i am just nervous.  I want to just get everything over as fast as i can.  Thanks for the information.

 

anita

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/18/11 9:00pm

It's only natural to want to get the cancer out of your body and get started with the rest of your treatments; but if you were in any danger from waiting, surely the doctors would move you to the head of the line. So try to stay calm and positive; and believe that things will go well for you. Come back here anytime - to vent, ask questions, or for a shoulder to lean on. We're here for you - PJH

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By debbie, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/17/12, First Published: 09/06/08