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How long did it take to start treatment?

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi everyone. My mother was diagnosed with Stage III B lung cancer on 2/1/12. On 12/23/11, a chest x-ray had an incidental finding. A biopsy on 1/26/12 confirmed lung cancer. Chemo and radiation are the plan for treatment. However, this past Monday, we found out that my mother's pacemaker was in the line of radiation and it would have to be moved before treatment could begin.

So as of right now, it looks likes treatment (both chemo and radiation) won't begin until the week of 2/20. So in a nutshell, I guess my questions are...

- Can anyone provide me with some information as to how long it generally takes from the time cancer is suspected (and then confirmed) to begin treatment? I am not sure how these things typically procede. My gut feeling is that the urgency to begin treatment should be much higher.

- Can you please offer any insight as to how delaying treatment for lung cancer by several weeks could affect treatment/general outlook?

Thank you in advance for your help. This is all new to me and I want to make sure I am being the best advocate I can be for my mother. Thanks again.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

... it doesn't sound like you're too far out of line, especially with the pacemaker complication. Staged IIIB with all diagnostics done 5/5/2010, radiation started 5/20/10, chemo started 5/24/10. Sounds like your mom's situation adds about a week to that delay. My delay between initial finding and end of diagnosis was shorter than the month you describe (about a week as I recall), but it came at the end of months (if not years) of mis- or non-diagnosis, so that's pretty irrelevant.

I've heard of shorter than mine, but also longer. I think your second question is unanswerable without knowing more variables than anybody can know, but my opinion would be that the schedule you describe isn't cause for alarm, and is probably as fast as can be managed.

All the best to your mom!

Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 2011

The CT on my mother indicated a possible tumor 7/6/11. Her treatment did not begin until 9/15/11 - this was due to 1) blood clot 2)1st byopsis negative 3) subsequent pleural byopsis took 4 weeks and 5 doctors to arrive at conculsion 4) then ct/pet. It was frustrating but is part of the process - ever persons disease is different.

She is 79 and holding her own. Stage iv - in pleural, lymph nodes, 3 ribs and right lung. 4 treatments of carboplatin and alimta - now maintnenance of alimta every 3 weeks (has finished 3 treatments).

The process is so difficult but it does become more routine - lots of ups and downs. Hope you like roller coaster rides:). Good luck - sure wish you didn't have to go through this!

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2012

Thank you both so very much for your quick responses and kind words. It means a lot. This is all very new to us and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your help. My mother seemed to be getting discouraged when we heard that there would be yet another delay in starting treatment. The information you provided will help me better address her concerns.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I wish you both the best of luck.

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