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How soon chemo after surgery?

Aims669's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2008

Hi, I don't post often, but read the discussions a few times a week and often scroll through the archives.

I am three weeks post surgery today (colon resection for stage 3 rectal cancer along with a complete hysterectomy. My surgeon had indicated that it would probably be about 2 months after surgery that I would start 12 rounds of folfox, but my onc. is ready to start next Monday (4 weeks post-surgery).

They are both great doctors and I know they are planning on talking before all of this starts, but I was wondering what the average time was between surgery and chemo for people on this list.


krystiesq's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Jun 2008

My mom had surgery last november and started chemo in december.

ron50's picture
Posts: 1598
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Amy,
I was st3 colon ca into 6 lymph nodes. I chose to have chemo and having done so I decided not to wait, so I started three weeks after surgery. It knocked me around pretty badly but it helped me greatly mentally to have started the battle against ca. I believe that WAITING is the worst mental state for survivors. Nearly 11 years later I have no regrets on the decision. Good luck whatever you decide It is your body and you know it best,Cheers ,Ron.

sladich's picture
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

Cancer discovered the end of September - colon resection. Discovered tumor in my lung - lower half of my left lung removed in early November. Started chemo (folfox) in mid-December.


Posts: 756
Joined: Jul 2004

mine was 4 weeks after surgery.
be well
never,ever give up!!

Madre's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

I had surgery 4/16, 10 days in the hospital stage 3b (3 positive nodes) chemo started 5/20. But, I had my hysterectomy in 2004 and that threw me for a loop too, so you have a bit more body parts missing that need to recover. Need to get those cancer cells before they get stronger. Kick them early. Unfortunately you'll be whipped either way, I think start the chemo and get it over with as soon as possible. but your doctors and your body know best. Praying for ya, good luck hang tough.

betina61's picture
Posts: 644
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Amy! I started about one month after sugery

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1231
Joined: Jul 2005

I was Stage IV - I started Xeloda + oxaliplatin 6 weeks after surgery with Avastin one week later. My oncologist wanted me to be healed - especially for the Avastin.

Good luck,

Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

Hi Amy,
My husband had stage 3 rectal cancer with 2 lymph nodes positive. He had surgery and started folfox chemo about 3 1/2 weeks later.

Good luck with whatever you and your doctors decide is best for you.


claud1951's picture
Posts: 429
Joined: Jun 2007

Mine was 6 weeks after surgery. My Onc wanted to make sure I was strong enough to handle it.

Good luck

Posts: 512
Joined: Nov 2007

I was scheduled for chemo 4 weeks after surgery - stage IIIA - but I got a virust and had to delay another 3 weeks. I am currenly over 1 year ned. I think it depends on how quickly you heal. 8 weeks before 12 rounds of folfox sounds about right. You don't want to start folfox before you feel physically strong.


kristasplace's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi there! My surgeon let me take a full 12 weeks to recover from chemoradiation, and i'm soooo glad she did. I was still sick, so i knew the treatments were still working, and sure enough, the tumor was completely dead when they took it out. I think it should depend on how YOU feel. If you feel ready, go for it.

Good luck!

impactzone's picture
Posts: 504
Joined: Aug 2006

Fopr my stage 4 with liver met it was 4 weeks after colon surgery before chemo started. At week 6 they started avastin

KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Amy,
You sound just like me. I was also stage III rectal cancer and had a complete hysterectomy along with my resection. My oncologist wanted to start my chemo three weeks after surgery, but I wasn't ready so I started it after 4 weeks. I did eight rounds and I am glad I gave myself that extra week to heal. Best of luck and a speedy recovery.


Limey's picture
Posts: 447
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Amy, I understand the average to be six weeks, but many start chemo as soon as four. I did start that fast after one of my surgeries. I really think it is more about wound healing and compromised imune systems fighting infections.
best of luck getting a program going and let us know how your tollerating the folfox. Many of us can help you with suggestions regarding any side effect

dn220's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: Sep 2007

I had stage3b with 3 nodes and had colon resection with permanent colostomy and removal of rectum and all but they waited 8 weeks to start my chemo but I had to be resucitated twice during surgery and spent 4 days on a ventilator after my surgery so thats why they waited so long for my chemo to start. Are they going to do radiation? I had my radiation and chemo before surgery then just chemo now.

Aims669's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2008

Wow. Thanks so much for the quick and helpful responses! I feel much better about the decision to get this started (or really to get to the end of it faster).
I feel great and ready to go, I guess I'm just worried about the healing inside being done.
Yes, Deb, I did have chemo and radiation for 6 weeks before the surgery. Just chemo this time!

Thanks again to everyone for sharing your experiences!

Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2008

My husband started chemo @ 7 weeks after surgery. He wanted to heal~and be able to celebrate his birthday~so we pushed it back a couple weeks. I was more anxious and could not start fast enough! He was diagnosed 11/30 and had surgery on 12/6~so we were pretty quick there w/getting it out asap.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi, hubby's was about 8 weeks after surgey. Good luck. Think positive!
God Bless

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