skipping radiation/chemo after surgery for neck cancer

I have surgery scheduled for July 3 to remove my left tonsil and some lymph nodes that most likely is caused by HPV (I'm in my early 40's, male, never smoked). last Thursday I got the chance to sit down with my "team" of doctors to discuss my treatment. My doctors want to follow up surgery right away with 14 days of radiation and to rounds of chemo.

Has anyone in a situation similar to mine skipped the radiation/chemo? What are the down sides to waiting a few months and healing up after surgery before starting radiation/chemo?


  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 1,977 Member
    Agree with bebo12249

    If you are with a cancer team you trust and I figure you do or you would have gotten another team you were comfortable with

    by now then I would go with their reccomendations and get the chemo and rads.

    They deal with this stuff every day and know what they are doing.

    They are the pros and the care plan they use for your case is the one they feel confident will make you cancer free.

    If you skip the chemo rads it is like doing only half the recommended treatment.

    You don't want to be out in time a bit from this and your cancer comes back and be saying to yourself

    I wish I would have.

    Unless you have a good reason not to--trust in your team.

    Take care-God Bless


  • bebo12249
    bebo12249 Member Posts: 181 Member
    I discussed skipping chemo

    I discussed skipping chemo/radiation with my surgeon and radiation onc. Their recommendation to treat after surgery was based on national guidelines, and i accepted their guidance. Surgery, for my stage ca, was optional but chemo/rad was recommended with or without surgery. I opted for surgery and chemo/rad.  If you skip the chemo/rads, your risk is that surgery did not remove all cancer. Waiting for months to start chemo/rad after surgery or skipping chemo/rads allows cancer cells not removed by surgery to continue to grow. I had tonsil removed and a neck dissection. Healing from the surgery only took about 2-3 weeks, and the team will not start your chemo/reds until you are healed, which will probably be less than “a few months.” Why would you delay the recommended treatment?

  • ProustLover
    ProustLover Member Posts: 116 Member
    One cell can travel fast

    Early studies pointed to four to six weeks after surgery as optimal time to start radiation, supporting the input from wbcgarus and bebo above. 

  • delawaresace
    delawaresace Member Posts: 2
    Thank you very much for

    Thank you very much for everyones input. I guess I'll see what happens after the surgery. maybe I won't even need it (but I probably will)

  • OKCnative
    OKCnative Member Posts: 326 Member
    I started out the same as you

    I started out the same as you - My first team wanted to do robotic surgery on my tumor (base of tongue) and also do a neck dissection to remove nodes on both sides. Then follow up with rads and chemo.

    I said "no thank you" and found another team that agreed the best approach would be rads and chemo first and then decide if I needed surgery. The team said they've had excellent results (85%+ "cure" rate without surgery). They also agreed that surgery can often be harder to deal with going forward than rads and chemo. When my treatment ended they agreed that surgery was not needed.

    I'm extremely glad I listened to my gut and sought a second opinion. I'd personally do treatment over surgery any day. However, If I'd had the surgery then I'd certainly followup with rads and chemo. It's no walk in the park, but 7 months out I barely remember the nightmare the treatment was.

  • Iskander
    Iskander Member Posts: 8 Member
    edited June 2018 #7
    I put off radiation

    I had surgery to remove a tonsil.  Shortly thereafter I met with the radiation oncologist, I didn't like what I heard and read about radiation so I put it off.  My surgeon scheduled a PET scan and found it in my lymphnodes.  After surgery for that, I got a second opinion on the radiation.  By that time nearly 6 months had passed, and I had to get scans again, because my original ones were too old by that time.  Long story short, I am just now finishing six weeks of radiation, nearly seven months after my original surgery.   For myself, I wish I had gotten it all done at once.  Prolonging the inevitable didn't do me any good, and just made for three separate recoveries, instead of one.  And, it didn't get any easier putting it off.  If I had done it all at once, by now I would be well on my way to recovery. 

    One more thing, for me, radiation was no walk in the park, but, it was not as bad as I had heard/read.  Of six weeks of radiation, only this last week has been very tough.  I think 14 days of radiation sounds very do-able.  But, I didn't have chemo...Good Luck.