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Timeframe for starting chemo?

TraciInLA's picture
Posts: 1994
Joined: Jul 2009

I had lumpectomies 6 weeks ago -- afterwards, my oncologist wanted me to get a second opinion on chemo. That appointment took two weeks to get -- now that we've decided to go ahead, we're having to wait some more for my insurance company to pre-authorize the chemo.

Is there an ideal timeframe for starting chemo after surgery, or a point at which it's "too late" to start?

I know I should have asked my doctor about this, and I will, but now it's the weekend, and I'm frustrated and my worries are running away with me....


jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Traci, I don't think there is a "real" time frame to start chemo. I just think that most oncologist's do it within 90 days after surgery. So, you have plenty of time. But, you should talk to your doctor if you are concerned. But, I think you will be fine. I want to wish you good luck with chemo!


faithandprayer's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Traci,
I have no idea what medical protocol is as it relates to time frame but I do believe you should have complete confidence and comfort with your treatment plan, and the pace it moves at. In other words, if you are someone who moves at the speed of light, a slower moving treatment plan may not be the best option for you. Be sure to talk with your medical team to express your concerns. If you are uneasy with their ability to accommodate your time perimeters, look around for a 2nd or 3rd opinion/option and the time frames they offer for comparison.

Locally, the our hospital treatment plans moves more slowly than I and we opted for a hospital we have to drive 1 1/2 hours to but had me on chemo within 1 1/2 weeks. The trade off was worth it to keep my sanity, especially in those early days.

Pull together a game plan to get questions answered & things moving. Then, try to let it go until Monday (easier said than done, I know). Look for a good diversion over the weekend!

Wishing you peace & calm,

Aortus's picture
Posts: 967
Joined: Jan 2009

The waiting is awful. Moopster waited 6 1/2 weeks after mastectomy to begin chemo, and even that was after her St. Louis oncologist called her hometown oncologist and basically told him to get rolling with the regimen she (that is, the St. Louis oncologist) prescribed.

Hopefully the insurance company will approve you ASAP, and if the oncologist isn't ready to go immediately, light a fire under his/her gluteus maximus. It worked wonders for Moopy and me.

chenheart's picture
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003

I had chemo about 7 weeks post surgery, so you are still on schedule! Waiting is so hard; all of us have learned that! And that part of the journey doesn't seem to get easier, either...it is simply nerve-wracking!

By the way, does the LA in your name stand for Los Angeles, or Louisiana, or neither? Just wondering! If you are in California, so am I! I live in Santa Ynez, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.


Akiss4me's picture
Posts: 2192
Joined: May 2009

Traci, I had a long wait due to Insurance delays. I didn't need chemo, but I did need to start my radiation. I had to wait for authorization at every turn. To see the Doctor's, for test, for biopsies, for surgery. From my diagnosis to the start of my radiation was 2 months!! Then My husband's employer switched insurances right in the middle of everything. For as much as I fretted about it, it was a blessing in disguise. No delays with the new Insurance. They have been a pleasure to work with since I did a transition of care with them.
Believe me when I said I wanted things done yesterday and I was forced to wait that it really played on my nerves. Now I finally feel like we are moving forward. There is not much you can do but wait on the Insurance. In the meantime, use this opportunity to empower yourself with knowledge and then when you start your treatment you will be prepared for whatever comes your way. :) Pammy

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

But, please don't add to your worries. Surgery, which removes the cancerous tumor/tissue - is a big step. Chemo is "systemic" - works via the bloodstream throughout the entire body to destroy any "stray" (or, "rogue" - as my med team describes) individual cancer cells. You've got time. The potential effectiveness of your upcoming chemo will most likely not diminish because of your current timeframe. Try not to worry over the weekend. Confirm with your med onc on Monday.

TraciInLA's picture
Posts: 1994
Joined: Jul 2009

THANK YOU all for the reassurances -- I knew that getting some input from your experiences would help me sleep a little better tonight.

(And that would be sleep here in Los Angeles, to answer Claudia's question -- God help me, I'm a Valley Girl!)


Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Hang in there! I have found, like everyone, that the waiting causes "insanity!" I had my lumpectomy on May 20 and started chemo on June 15...Having my 3rd of 4 this Monday...Then I start radiation sometime the end of September. I think it all depends on the oncologist and the cancer center where you receive your treatments. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people having chemo on "my day" every third Monday....I assume it is like that EVERY day...

I wish you well

lolad's picture
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

Im six weeks out of double mastectomy and still dont even know what treatments im going to have. I find out Tuesday, and i too feel like its rediculous that its been so long after my surgery. Maybe they are just giving us time to heal from surgery before they start on treatment. Anyways, good luck. I know yours feelings of frustrations.


jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Just wishing you good luck on Tuesday Laura! Let us know!

Hugs, Leeza

BunnyJane's picture
Posts: 213
Joined: Jul 2009

I had lumpectomy on June 1st and had my first chemo. on July 24th.

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