• LMM's Avatar

    How long did it take before you were finally able to sit down and speak with oncologist after you were told about cancer?

    Asked by LMM on Monday, December 31, 2012

    How long did it take before you were finally able to sit down and speak with oncologist after you were told about cancer?

    On Dec.18 a doc told me I had cancer, he took a biopsy but told me I didn't need to wait for lab result and said it was cancer. The day after that I had a general surgeon examine me and he also said yes, this is a tumor. I am still waiting for biopsy report, and will see the oncologist on Jan 7th. Is this a typical wait time, or is my wait time due to the holidays? Does the stage your in matter to when doc's find it urgent to see you?

    17 Answers from the Community

    17 answers
    • abrub's Avatar

      My cancer was diagnosed in surgery on April 6, 2007, and I didn't get to meet with the oncologist until the 20th. But then I had to wait several weeks more to see specialist oncologists, because my cancer was so rare. I'm sure the holidays have played into your wait.

      You've had the cancer for a while, so a few extra days won't make a difference in seeing the oncologist. I know that the feeling is that we can't act quickly enough, but again, realize that it has been growing in you for some time now. Catch your breath - you'll soon have a plan in place.

      almost 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      LMM, Hello I am an oncology nurse and a lot of the wait time depends on preparation of the biopsy. Sometimes during tissue retrieval for a biopsy they can look at tissue under a microscope and if the tissue is well differentiated they know it is cancer but to validate that they need to encase the tissue in parrafin wax and then slice very thin. Then its up to the pathologist, a tissue doctor, how many slices he will examine under the microscope once the sample has set. Some look at 5 slices, some might look at 8 or more. Smaller hospitals have to send the tissue out to a pathologist because they do not have one in house and those that do, have a busy pathologist who is examining many samples and then has to write a final finding report. So you can see that it can be a timely process.

      almost 4 years ago
    • myb's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with colon cancer from my colonoscopy at 50 on 2/14/12. I met with a surgeon on 2/20/12 and had surgery to remove the cancer, surrounding lymph nodes and appendix as in the area on 3/1/12. I did not get pathology results (stage 3c) until 3/19/12 when I followed up with my surgeon. I met with 2 oncologists on 3/27/12. Had day stay surgery to put in a chemo port on 4/6/12 and started the 1st of my 12 rounds of chemo on 4/10/12.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      My biopsy was early Oct. was told a few days later it was SCC, then Surgeon referred me to Oncologist, it was 2 months before I could get in. I was scared I might be a goner before I could even get in. Turns out, I was just excited. So apparently that's kind of normal. I'm sure location, time of year, current work load, etc will factor in.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      The first time, the oncologist told me it was cancer based on the results of a blood test but that he would need to confirm with a bone marrow biopsy, which he scheduled quickly. He believes in telling patients face-to-face and not over the phone. The second time it was an oral surgeon with the bad news, again face-to-face. I called the oncologist immediately and saw him the next day.

      The holidays may have something to do with the apparent delay, but some of it is just lab prep and lab backup--you aren't the only one anxiously waiting results. :-) If the cancer is causing pain or other problems for you, then make your feelings and experiences known to your oncologist. Maybe a fire can be lit somewhere or maybe the oncologist can help mitigate the effects. Beyond that, your best tactic is knowledge. Find out as much as you can when you see your oncologist and then learn as much as you can on your own. Ask the oncologist "why the delay?" if you are concerned about that. A desire to get on with it and beat this thing now is perfectly normal--or, at least, normal for me. :-)

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      My stage 1 kidney cancer was diagnosed when the post nephrectomy patholgy report came in. I spoke with my urologist about it, but was told that I did not need any other treatment.
      My adanced kdiney cancer diagnoses came in late on a Thursday and I spoke with an oncologist Monday afternoon.
      I called my Kidney oncolgist as soon as I got the stage 1 breast cancer report, he set up an appointment with a breast oncologist for first thing the next morning.
      When the Breast cancer Metsiszied my Kidney oncolgist told me in person and then sent me directly to my breast ocologist, as he had set up an emerancy appointment.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      The time between diagnosis and starting treatment is probably the hardest part of a cancer journey. There is actually a lot going on but often the patient is not involved or aware of some of it. My PCP told me she strongly suspected cancer during my annual physical in Oct 2012. From there I had 2 mammograms, and a biopsy. The diagnosis from that biopsy on Nov 10 was Invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 1. I had my first appointment with my oncologist on Nov 21. She suspected inflammatory breast cancer and ordered a bunch more diagnostic tests and another biopsy. After all of those, my diagnosis was change to inflammatory breast cancer stage 3B. My first chemo treatment was on 12/7.

      So it was about about a month from the time I was told by my PCP that she strongly suspected cancer until my first appointment with my oncologist, but is was about 2 months until I actually began treatment.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was officially diagnosed on Jan 6, 2012. I met with 3 breast surgeons, 2 plastic surgeons and 1 oncologist before I had my bilateral mastectomy on Feb 3, 2012. I met with another oncologist in March and had my Oncotype DX and BRCA analysis done. I only met with that onc because I had my surgery a few hours from my home and was recovering there and it was more convenient. Although I was stage 1, my surgeons all thought it best to get going as soon as possible.

      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      It took a while for me to get diagnosed ... 13 years ... so the time spent between diagnosis and treatment seemed rather slight to me. I'd had an external and growing tumor which all the dozens of docs shown it, over the years, thought was a wart or hemorrhoid. Finally, I broke my big toe, gained a bunch of weight and the, um, crack tumor grew along with the rest of me. Walking became uncomfortable. A surgeon agreed to remove the little desert flower/tumor/not wart.

      I had to chase the surgeon down to find out the results of the biopsy as I was recovering from the surgery. That took more than a week. I actually had to lie about who I was to get him to come to the phone. He simply said "It is a cancer. I did not get it all. Find an oncologist." and he hung up the phone.

      Then I finished healing from the initial surgery and went about interviewing oncologists while I began alternative therapies because, at that time, the odds of survival weren't so good. I did not like one oncologist because he patted me on the head and told me not to worry "little lady" as though I were a dog with no mind of my own. Then some new chemotherapy drugs came out which were said to be far more effective but the next oncologist did not want to use them. Then there was one with a filthy office. I wound up interviewing half a dozen oncologists. So many that a friend who was a nurse at the time began to prod me to make a decision. It took almost four or five weeks but I eventually hired one who spoke to me as a person and who had attended my HS a few decades prior to me. His credentials were spectacular and his demeanor excellent and his hospital reputable.

      Then there was a delay between my decision and the beginning of the treatments. I remember thinking "What's the big deal? I've been told to hurry up just so I can just wait."

      They had staged the cancer at stage II. Oddly, an Uncle (no blood relation) had died from the very same cancer when I was just a child.

      Long story short, please don't worry. The docs will torture you for a while and then you will be cancer free.

      If you have any dental problems, take care of them now and do have your teeth professionally cleaned prior to beginning treatments for cancer.

      Remember to breathe.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I hated this part of the journey. WAITING!!! I'll break down my schedule to give you an idea of my process. I was told I had cancer on Nov 11, 2011. Tumors in my abdomen and a couple in my chest. Saw my Oncologist for the first time on Nov 14th. He referred me to a Surgical Oncologist for a biposy who I couldn't see until Nov 18th. The Surgical Oncologist told me he was pretty sure it was testicular cancer based on my blood work but wanted an ultrasound of the testicles since no tumors were found during examination. The same day, I was sent to a Urologist. He did an untrasound and found to tumors so he ordered a biposy of the tumor in my abdomen. Biopsy was done Nov 22, 2011. Received the results on November 30th. Started chemo on December 5th.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Giraffe's Avatar

      I was diagnosed on November 7,2012 after 3 biopsy pulls on 11/4. I saw the surgeon on 11/8, had th surgery scheduled for 11/27. My first oncology visit was December 11,2012. Had second surgery 12/28. See the oncologist for the second time on 1/3. At this visit the chemo schedule will be set up. I am pleased with the timeline. Hope this helps. The waiting was hard.

      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      BTW, lol, I see that we all missed a "punny".

      An anal cancer patients asks: "How long before you were finally able to sit down .... ?"

      A remarkable thing is that it was four years until I was healed enough to use toilet paper again. As a reminder, no one goes through as much radiation as I was put through any more so it may be less than two years for you

      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I used carets without realizing that the site erases words within carets ... I added that I was joking regarding your healing timeline. Such predictions are not only useless but very often incorrect.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      My diagnosis came out of the blue. When I was told it was cancer, I was also told to see an onc asap. The hospital decided this asap was a three week wait (hospitals/doctors are necessarily dispassionate/unemotional--newly diagnosed cancer patients are nothing but passion and emotion--there is a natural conflict so this sent me through the roof).

      I raised XXX with everyone I could get hold of and was in an office a week later. Did it change my treatment or journey? Probably not, but I felt better about how I was fighting this thing and they don't treat me like a number when I am in the office (as they do so many others). Start calling every morning and afternoon looking for a cancellation (doubtful there will be one, but you never know). Be proactive. In the meantime, research as much as possible, write down your questions, no matter how off the wall they may seem and be ready for your appointment. The more prepared you are, the easier your path will be. As someone else mentioned, this is the hardest time of the entire journey and unfortunately comes at the time we are least prepared.

      almost 4 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      That does seem like a long time to wait, I was diagnosed through surgery on December 8th 2009, and by the time I woke up, my surgeon had scheduled an appointment with an oncologist for the following Friday, December 12th. I was stage 2 btw.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Julie99's Avatar

      I had my biopsy on Fri Oct 26th, they called with the results- cancer- on Mon Oct 29th. I had my 1st apt with the breast surgical oncologist on Thurs Nov 1st. With 2 rounds of IVF for fertility preservation, waiting on BRCA results (positive), a vacation I had in Nov, additional biopsies after my MRI, making the decision for the bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, meeting the PS, the holidays tossed in, scheduling the surgical oncologist with the PS for a surgery date... now it is in 5 days. Almost 2 1/2 months from my initial dx.
      I actually felt much better knowing that they all worked together (even the medical oncologist and my reproductive endrocronologist tossed in) to make sure they all had ALL of the information to help me make the best decisions possible. I feel really good about the team I have gotten together and the treatment decisions I am making.
      If you don't feel comfortable with anyone on your team, get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. This is about you and what's best for you.

      almost 4 years ago
    • maralyn's Avatar

      i guess i was pretty fortunate,,, i had a ct scan on sept 24th, got the results on the 26th and had a referral and an appt before i left her office with a gynecological oncology surgeon for oct 1st!!! i had trouble completing a colonoscopy, but as soon as it was completed oct 12th, and the results were in, which was oct 15th, my surgery date was oct 22nd... sometimes i feel it all happened so fast i didn't get a chance to comprehend it all for awhile... now i wait because i still have to gain 5+ lbs before i can go back in for HIPEC,,, ensure plus and peanut butter have become my best friends!!!

      almost 4 years ago

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