Long delay between surgery and chemo

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theresa8
theresa8 Member Posts: 61
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
My husband who was operated Feb 1st for a rectal cancer is still waiting for the OK from his oncologist to start his chemo. The reason for this is that he developed an infection at his resection site one week post surgery. He was treated with antibiotics for 23 days and the infection site was drained during a one week period. Our surgeon thought that he couls go ahead and start on Monday but the oncologist asked for a scan which showed that there was still a tiny bubble left on one of the staple. So, we now sit and wait for another two weeks for another scan to check if it's all gone. The trouble is my husband is now in his eighth week post surgery for a stage 2 and if he's lucky he might be able to start his chemo in two weeks. I've heard there is a window for optimal benefit from chemo, the onc started talking that we might just skip chemo since he was a stage 2 and he had radiation/chemo prior to his surgery. I've tried to call him all day to see what he thinks about all this. Has anyone ever gone through chemo as late as 10 or twelve weeks post surgery. My husband really wants to go through with the chemo since he feels it's like an insurance against recurrence. I really would appreciate feedback from anyone who experienced this problem
I thank you all so much
Theresa

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  • lcarper2
    lcarper2 Member Posts: 635 Member
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    theresa8
    I had stage 3 cc surgery July 19 09 and didn't start chemo till Sept 25th 09 and It didn't make any diffrence now rectal cancer maybe different I don't know...
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122 Member
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    Theresa -


    Re:
    "I've heard there is a window for optimal benefit from chemo"

    They don't like to start chemo until all wounds are healed, since chemo
    plays hell to the immune system. A small infection can turn into a major
    catastrophe, if the immune system is too compromised.

    Both my oncologists told me that the "window" for chemo to have
    any serious benefit, was one month after surgery, or two months
    after, at the most.

    They also said that once chemo is started, it should not be stopped
    until the "full course" has been had. It's like antibiotics, if you stop
    too soon, the bad things take hold more securely, and it's harder
    to stop them with the same stuff.

    Actually, chemo does so much damage to the immune system,
    that stopping the chemo short, leaves you without anything at
    all to fight cancer cells with. I would think that's more of concern
    than anything else.

    If your OM really wants to do the chemo, then get other opinions
    first, and if it's possible for him to do it, then go for it

    It's important to allow one's intuition and common sense be
    allowed to guide you. Otherwise, there will always be the
    "what if" diabolical syndrome weighing heavily on heads....

    I personally don't think too highly of "chemo" or radiation
    as a good cure for anything, but one has to do what one
    feels is best for them, regardless of what anyone else thinks,
    and that includes doctors, etc.

    Good luck to you both!

    John
  • k1
    k1 Member Posts: 220 Member
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    my oncologist said 3-month window
    I had a similar situation with Stage 2 in that I was scheduled to start chemo two months after surgery, but because pelvic CT scan 7 weeks after surgery indicated I had developed an infection and scarring it was postponed. I was told by my oncologist that chemo should be started within three months of surgery if I was going to have it, but I needed to heal some more before I should have it and maybe I shouldn't even have it due to my condition if I was not better in a month and if I was not better he would not order chemo for me. I took antibiotics and meanwhile I sought out a second opinion from another oncologist who was actually a colorectal oncologist specialist. He also said there was a three month window for starting chemo after colon surgery.

    So I got the three months window advice from two different oncologists at two completely different medical centers, one a research and teaching hospital and the other a private oncology center.

    Maybe you all still have some time to heal and still get the chemo within three months.

    Kim
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866 Member
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    Surgery and Chemo
    It is best for the body to be ready for chemo, it can be tough on the system. We all respond differently. While some have compromised immune systems, I've yet (in 6 years) to have a chemo withheld due to a low blood count or illness. While I won't say that I've never been sick during the past 6 years, I can count the times I have been sick on one hand.
    And no, I don't have 20 fingers on one hand.
    -phil

    PS: Ask your husband to try not to worry too much. So much of healing and getting through this is attitude.
  • dianetavegia
    dianetavegia Member Posts: 1,942 Member
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    I've been researching some natural type cures and saw just yesterday the optimum time for starting chemo is 6 -7 weeks post surgery.
  • theresa8
    theresa8 Member Posts: 61
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    I've been researching some natural type cures and saw just yesterday the optimum time for starting chemo is 6 -7 weeks post surgery.

    Six weeks to three months...
    Well since his six weeks waiting time is up I'll keep in mind the three months when I talk to his oncologist today. He feels he must have this before he calls it quit with this cancer but he knows that this waiting period also postpones his reversal surgery and he'd love to be top shape for his golf this summer. Other than that he's still feeling a little pain from his rectum but his energy his back and he's starting to feel normal again. I've been researching to find what the best time for starting chemo and I can't find anything on the web. Thank you for taking time to answer our quetion which is our main concern this week.
    Have a great day
    Theresa
  • snommintj
    snommintj Member Posts: 601
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    theresa8 said:

    Six weeks to three months...
    Well since his six weeks waiting time is up I'll keep in mind the three months when I talk to his oncologist today. He feels he must have this before he calls it quit with this cancer but he knows that this waiting period also postpones his reversal surgery and he'd love to be top shape for his golf this summer. Other than that he's still feeling a little pain from his rectum but his energy his back and he's starting to feel normal again. I've been researching to find what the best time for starting chemo and I can't find anything on the web. Thank you for taking time to answer our quetion which is our main concern this week.
    Have a great day
    Theresa

    five months for me
    I developed a series of infections after my second resection. Five months after surgery my infection had finally cleared up. My oncologist had been following my biweekly CTs and hadn't seen any mets so he said I didn't need the chemo. 45 days later I had a PET/CT in preparation to have my thyroid cancer removed and I had 20 plus mets in my liver and both lobes of the lung. Needless to say we skipped the thyroid procedure and went back to chemo. It has worked well and this is my 5th time. I've now had over 40 cycles. Wait for the infection to clear up, it is far more serious an issue than the cancer. When the infection is gone, restart the chemo, even if he's clean. I wish I had restarted after 5 months, I wouldn't be in the mess I'm in. Good Luck, infections are rough, I wish you guys the best!