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from diagnosis to treatment time

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

my husband was diagonsed with stage 4a tonsil hpv cancer. Biopsy done on july 26 2013. Went to radiation oncologists on followin friday aug 2 and medical oncologists. Petscan done on moday aug 12. Bone biopsy done aug 16th as there was hotspots there and lungs. Is this time frame acceptable. Last week dentist and periodentist. My mother in law is insistent they are not doing there job and i am stressing out and now second guessing myself and dr. please help and let me know your time frame.

Posts: 761
Joined: Apr 2012

When my husband was first diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in late June 2010, it wasn't until the middle of August before radiation and chemo was started.  All testing has to be done first.  For some it will take up to 2 months before treatment is started.  This is not unusual even though we might think so and worry that treatment is not being started immediately.  The doctors are doing their jobs and if you don't think so, you should get a second opinion, which will take even more time.   Even when he was diagnosed with a second primary in April 2012, it wasn't until mid-May before treatment was started.  

I also hope that they told you that head and neck radiation is the worse there is.  Some are lucky with few side effects but the majority aren't.  Many need a PEG (feeding) tube and a port before treatment is started.  Just be sure that your husband stays hydrated so that he can move the chemo thru his kidneys fast.  Mine didn't and end up having to have infusions almost daily for 2 weeks.  This site will give you great help and advice. Just ask.

Wishing you and your husband the best -- Sharon

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4333
Joined: May 2012


Welcome to  the H&N forum, I am very sorry your husband qualifies. You may want to check out the Superthread at the top of the opening page, it has lots of good information.

Sounds like the standard path.  I was stage IVa, scc, bot , 1-lymph node, hpv+ (surgery, radiation & Erbitux).  My journey started 11-11-11 and I was finished with treatments on 3-23-12.  I n between was a flurry of tests, appts (GP,ENT , Rad ONC, Chemo ONC, dentists), scans, surgery, etc.  For some it happens quicker and for others longer.

As long as you are being treated by reputable doctors who  know how to address H&N cancer you are probably doing well.

Stay positive, you are doing fine,


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1217
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Lesaf,

While the time from being diagnosed to the time you actually begin treatment seems like years, 2-3+ months is not uncommon.

I was originally Dx'd on Nov. 30th 2012. All said and done with surgeries and such,  I began treatment on March 13th 2013.

I felt as you did that it was taking forever but my team said that I likely had cancer for up to a year before it showed it's face and a couple of months wouldn't make a difference. Even so, the tumors were very aggressive and grew quite a bit in those months before surgery. 

Now, 3.5 months post treatment I'm NED and doing pretty good. 

Before you know it treatment will begin and it'll be over and time for recovery. 

Best wishes. positive thoughts and prayers


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4674
Joined: Mar 2012

I think.  I was diagnosed on March 5th, 2012....and had my first treatments on April 24th.  Getting a treatment plan together takes some doing from more than one Dr.....your RO for radiation, an Oncologist for chemo....and an ENT as a sort of "go-to" guy.  Getting teeth in order before radiation is necessary.....rads are very hard on teeth....

Most of us waited weeks (some waited months) between diagnosis and treatment starting....Tell your MIL that "yes they are doing their jobs"....and you quit second guessing yourself and the Dr.  He's right on schedule. Smile


robswife87's picture
Posts: 208
Joined: Mar 2013

is in normal time frame.

Husband had CT scan March 8, results March 10, First ENT March 11, CCC Ent March 18, only because I know the head nurse in the department, Surgical biopsies March 29, RO April 1, MO April 4, Dentist in between those 3, Arpil 15 chemo started and radiation same day. PET scan was in there also. The radiation mask was done twice as in the first one hubby had a freak out and waited 4 more days. His tonsil and throat area was so swollen from the biopsies 4 days earlier he was choking. But they rushed to get it done. Then when they do the mask they are also mapping him and has to go to dosimetry, which them takes about a week to overlap all maps and tests. It is a crazy time. 

A lot goes into the whole process. The mapping is the most important, as this is the exact spots they want to shoot the radiation at. In the old days they gave radiation from top of head to top of chest. This left many witha high risk of lung cancer. The IMRT radiation is there to save the everything else but the cancer. Leading to less side of effects of areas that no cancer exists and less chance of cancer in other areas because of radiation.

The fact that I knew the right people in the right places helped us alot. U OF M Hospital is sometimes hard to get into. When it comes to cancer they do their best on the immediacy, but still.

They knew it was cancer when we walked in the door. All of his info was uploaded to their system before we got there. Biopsies were just standard procedure. Mainly staging, but they knew it was Stage 4 with mets to lymph nodes. Because of the friendship we had she did not BS me in any way. They gave it straight up. 


jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

Sounds about right. The gums can take two -three weeks to heal before radiation can begin. That was the hard part for us, waiting for the gums to heal. Jim had stage 4b base of tongue with 2 lymph nodes involved. He stressed about the time it took to begin treatment as well.  I pray you both can find some peace as stress is not good for the patient. I know, personally, that is easier said than done. This site will be an in valuable resource, not just for information, but for support. I would not have survived Jim's treatment without these wonderful people.

Praying for you both. Debbie

Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2012

I know it seems alarming, but many of these tests and dental work issues are all important prep. You will be glad they did all the work beforehand, because no dental work can be done comfortably for some time, and they need all the pretests for benchmarks. I was misdiagnosed for 2 1/2 months, by an idiot ENT doctor who did surgery for an baterial abscess in my lymph gland and did not send it to be biopsied (amazingly stupid and negligent). After nearly 3 months, and many demanding requests on my part, I finally was biopsied. Treatment was delayed by insurance company authorization rules (nice), but I think the oncologists do their best. I was in treatment 2 weeks after being (finally) diagnosed correctly.

14 months out from last treatment and doing fine.

Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

Not much to add to what has already been said. Sounds like your husband is on the normal path. They need to know where the cancer is in order to kill it. Wishing you and your husband luck. Keep us posted.


Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

When my husband was diagnosis with cancer last December and treatment didn’t start till Feb 2013, so it’s ok

You will be in my prayers!!

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