• How long did you have to wait for the diagnosis

    Asked by cllinda on Friday, November 16, 2018

    How long did you have to wait for the diagnosis

    I had the biopsy on Tuesday and by Thursday afternoon, I hadn't heard anything so I called the nurse navigator and she looked into it for me. She called back and said that it's not the way I had wanted it to be. And I just burst into tears.
    What was your diagnosis like? How fast did you get results?

    26 Answers from the Community

    26 answers
    • JaneA's Avatar

      I'm so sorry that you received your diagnosis this way. Ideally, they would have made a follow-up appointment with the surgeon or PA to get your results in person.

      I had Stage IV rectal cancer and my tumor was visible when the PA performed a flexible sig exam. She told my husband and me to be expecting cancer and a colonoscopy was scheduled ASAP so that they could biopsy the tumor. The surgeon who performed the colonoscopy told us while I was in recovery that the biopsy confirmed that I had cancer.

      The reason I share my story is that no matter how you get the news, it's shocking and there is no easy way. Best wishes for treatment success.

      11 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Sorry you received some bad news. As far as time frame, for my first diagnosis, it was 2 weeks before I heard, but that was in 88. My last one, 10 years ago was a week. That was just for the pathology report that only told them the type of cancer, it didn't tell them where the primary was. The biopsy was taken from a swollen lymph node in my neck. I had to wait 2 months to see my oncologist and see if they could find where the primary was. It was my right tonsil and was easy to find.

      We wish you the best and know that you'll be a trooper on this diagnosis too. Always let us know how you're doing here and ask what questions you need about anything.

      11 months ago
    • lh25's Avatar

      So sorry you got your diagnosis that way!

      Mine was a bit of a journey. I started bleeding very heavily one night in late Jan, when to the ER when it wouldn't stop. They said I had fibroids, but to get a uterine biopsy to be sure. That took a week to schedule, then another week or so to get the results that it was questionable. Went to other doctors, scheduled a hysterectomy. That happened in mid-March. It took 10 days to get the pathology from that. So it was March 25th when I got the diagnosis.

      I had gone in for my surgical follow-up and to get the results. It was the only appointment I didn't have my husband or mom with me, I was feeling good and convinced all was well, and they were both busy. I'll never forget my doctor walking in and saying "Oh, you don't have your mom or husband with you" and knowing it was bad news. She was so kind about it. They went and got the friend who had driven me to the appointment, so I didn't have to walk out to the waiting room and tell him. He called my husband and told him to get down to the hospital.

      11 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      It took awhile for me to get my diagnosis. Mine was based on PET scan results (the biopsy came next to determine kind of cancer). My PCP who ordered the PET scan had several experts look at the results to be sure she wasn't going to tell me i had lung cancer when i didn't.

      It took a week before she called. My husband and I were in his truck, getting ready to go eat lunch when the call came. She told me I had lung cancer and that she had scheduled an appointment for me to see an oncologist the following day.

      There is no easy way to learn you have cancer. There is no right way to learn.

      I shed a few tears when she told me my diagnosis. Dried my face and we went in to eat lunch. It was surreal, looking around, wondering what secrets or news all of the customers might also have... no one would have guessed the news i had just received.

      After we ate, my husband took me back to work.

      11 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      Oh cllinda, i didn't look to see who wrote the question before i responded. I am sorry that you have a recurrence or a new cancer. That's heartbreaking news.

      11 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I have learned about all of my cancers within 48 hours of the biopsy. My first cancer, I had lots of clues. When I went to my PCP I thought it was a partucularly nasty stomach flu that was going around but he sent me in chest x-ray that day and swallow test the next day. The look on the radiologist's face said it all. He had been encouraging me all through the test. Suddenly he went silent. He push the screen away and said I need to study this. The technician said on the way out we have done this test for three people this week they have all had cancer (Thanks too much info) A recieved a call from my PCP within an hour of comming home. I was to come to his office ASAP. He asked me if I had any injuries to my throat like scalding or sharp objects like bones caught in my throat. He said that he hoped that lt was just scar tissue but I needed an endoscopy. So I was scheduled for an endoscopy my daughter came to take me to the endoscopy and the Dr. asked if I wanted her to go over the results with her or did I want to have them in a sealed envelope. My daughter took be to a motel room to recover because my sister and her daughter and grandchildren were visiting. Late that afternoon my mother called and asked if I wanted to see my sister for a few minutes as they were leaving soon. So we went to the house the envelope stilled sealed. My sister was chosen to be the one to break the seal. Her words "this sucks" said it all. The envelope also included an appointment with an oncologist.
      My second cancer was diagnosed when I was in the hospital because I had inhaled a lot of plaster dust when my ceiling fell. It had caused a blood clot in my lungs and they were trying to bust it. I started bleeding from the vagina and I thought I had hurt myself when the ceiling fell. But the Dr, ordered a ultrasound which showed a mass on my ovary and one in my uterus. So they did a biopsy. Later that day the nurse came in and said we are stopping the clot busting and as soon as we can get a room with oxigen equipment we will transfer you to the cancer floor.
      Now this last cancer I had a couple of falls lately (two of which resulted in concussions) One of the falls I fell against the unfinished side of a shelf and cut my arm even though I cleaned the cut it appeared to get infected I thought there might be a sliver there so I went to the Dr. When she opened it up she couldn't find a sliver. She said it looked suspicious so I need to send it to the lab. The next morning her nurse called and said it was cancerous. I said can we freeze it when I come in tomorrow to get the bandage changed. The nurse said no it's not basal cell skin cancer it is squamous cell and has to be removed surgically

      11 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Also sorry to hear this. After the initial shock, why not develop the attitude that the fight is on? You can put your anger, anxiety, irritation, whatever, to work against the enemy. Many of us are not natural fighters, but when the fight is brought to us, love of family and friends compels us to rise to the occasion.

      It took me two months for diagnosis, by which time I was stage IV, "innumerable" tumors, with "B" symptoms - a bad prognostic indicator. My new GP, and the first oncologist and pathologist thought I did not have cancer.

      Did. Lots of it. I ended up with two relapses, a mutation into two types and a third, treatment-related cancer, simultaneously. Miracle of miracles, it is all gone.

      The bully has entered the room. You can cower, or clobber.

      You hare much stronger than you know.

      11 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      cclinda, I'm so sorry.

      As others here said, hearing a cancer diagnosis is always extremely hard to deal with initially. I got mine (breast cancer) by phone from a cold breast surgeon, three hours after the biopsy she took, without any pain-numbing med, in her office. I ended up using a great and supportive breast surgeon at another hospital.

      I wish you all the best, and of course we're here for you.

      11 months ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar

      I had my biopsy on a Thursday and got the results the following Tuesday. It seemed like forever. My breast surgeon just walked in the room and said "there is no way to suger-coat it, you have cancer". I wasn't surprised at all. He started explaining things and answering the questions my husband and I had. After meeting with him, we went to the Nurse Navigator, and the whirlwind began the following day.

      11 months ago
    • lujos' Avatar

      Cclinda, so sorry to hear about your recurrence, I’ve had a bc recurrence too, after 4 years NED. I thought I had a lump, went in, and the surgeon said he thought it was nothing (brief moment of deep joy). Did a mammo, and by the number of views they kept taking, figured it was bad news. After the ultrasound, and biopsy, I knew, even though it wasn’t confirmed for 2 weeks. The looks on the faces told it all!

      Recurrence is crap, and devastating, no doubt about it...

      11 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      I still remember it like it was yesterday:
      Wednesday, 4/17/13 - routine mammogram
      Thursday, 4/18-13 - Message left on answering machine to come in the next morning for ultrasound
      Friday, 4/19/13 - Ultrasound in the morning, medical staff very concerned, had to come back in for biopsy that afternoon
      6 long days of waiting
      Thursday, 4/25/13 - call from PCP nurse; when I asked if I was OK, she sadly replied, "No, honey, you're not." and scheduled first oncologist appointment for the next day. That's when I lost it. I was alone and heard the news on the phone. I immediately called my mother sobbing, and then when I told my best friend, she said I *was not* going to spend the night alone.
      Spent the night at my pastor's house so I wouldn't be alone.
      Friday, 4/26/13 - first oncology appointment where diagnosed officially, treatment plan discussed, journey begins.
      Then last year, I had that cancer scare, and I told them I didn't want to be alone if they had bad news. They even discussed how to get my sister or mother present when the phone call came through so they would be with me if they couldn't be at my place. The call came in, and I was by myself when I learned it had turned out to be a false alarm. They delivered the news so fast, I don't know if they forgot I wanted someone with me; they assumed someone was with nme on the phone or at my place; or they knew I wouldn't mind receiving this kind of news alone.
      I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear you had a recurrence. :'( As many of these folks said, there is no really "good" time and way to find out you have cancer. Please know we are all here for you should you have questions or want to vent. HUGS and God bless.

      11 months ago
    • Mamaswagon's Avatar

      The pathology does take about 4 days that's pretty standard. That's for the initial finding the full pathology report follows a day or two later. I found my lump June 22 my on gun couldn't get me in for a few days. June 26th. They couldn't get me in for diagnostic mammo for 2 days. I had my diagnostic mammo, ultrasound and biopsy all in the same morning June 28 and then received my results July 2. There was a weekend in there. Overall I thought they were moving as quickly as they could, your are scared and anxious and anything other than immediate answers is going to feel like swimming in jello. I had mastectomy 30 days later, chemo port inserted 30 days later and began chemo 30 days later.

      11 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Cilinda, I'm sorry to hear about your recurrence. Try to focus on what you have to do to treat it, step by step, and plod along. If you could get thru it before, you know you can do it again and be more confident, kind of like having your second child.

      It takes 24 to 48 hours for a pathology lab to process biopsies unless they do special stains/tests. After that, the length of time it takes to receive results depends on whether your lab has electronic records to look up in the computer, whether they fax new reports to the doctor, or if they send them through the mail to your doctor. Then your doctor's office has their own routine and way of telling the patient, whether by phone call or appointment.

      JaneA, I've always been called with results, which is what I prefer, because it's less time to wait. The first time, I was working in the same medical center and looked up my breast biopsy report electronically, so I knew my results before I got the call. That was the only time I teared up.

      I usually am focused on what I need to do next, in terms of appointments and treatment scheduling, maybe phone calls, and I expect everything to go well.

      Cilinda, sending hugs and prayers to you.

      11 months ago
    • Kayelen's Avatar

      I kept pestering my family doctor about back pain. She kept sending me to physical therapy and would not do any testing. I finally begged her for relief so she scheduled an MRI and bone scan. I also had to call the doctor's office as i had not heard any results for about a week. The nurse told me the results. i will never forget. she said "there were weird findings on the bone scan." Well i knew that was bad but what the heck? My regular Doctor never even talked to me about the results.

      I was referred to an oncologist with the absolute worst bedside manner in history. His words sounded like rapid gunfire and very coldly he said, you have breast cancer, stage iv, about six months to live. My husband started crying and i could not move. Well, two years later I am cancer free! I changed both doctors and found a loving caring support group and fantastic Doctor. (I also confronted my first doctor about her manner or lack of...) I am sorry you had to get your news that way. If you have not already, find a good support group. Doctors do not know everything and many do not know how to talk to patients.

      11 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Kayelen, glad you are cancer-free! I have to ask, what did your doctor say when you confronted her? Hadn't she seen the report? Sometimes they can sit on somebody's desk while they are off.

      11 months ago
    • lujos' Avatar

      Here in the UK, it’s generally 2 weeks for results. Results are never given by phone, and always after having been discussed by the “MDT” (tumour board), who discuss your results and possible treatment. That way, you get a very informed set of results, not just one person’s opinion. The wait is bad, but at least I understand why.

      11 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar

      Like you I got the bad news on the phone two weeks after biopsy by the radiologist. I was at work and had no idea what my next step would be. I called everyone I knew who had breast cancer and got the necessary info from them. I feel for you as it is a rather abrupt way to get bad news

      11 months ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar

      I got a call from my primary doctor while I had a class full of middle school students. I honestly thought she was going to say it was nothing. After I took the call, I regretted that decision. Luckily, I have a great principal and he took over my class while the vice principal took over my best friend's class. My friend took me to lunch and we had a long talk before taking me home to deliver the news to my husband.

      11 months ago
    • Kayelen's Avatar

      BarbarainBham, the doctor apologized and said their office should do a better job.

      11 months ago
    • Yeahyeah's Avatar

      Apologizing or not, I would look for another practice and get a second opinion asap. My trust with this doctor and his/her support staff would be gone. Cry and get it over with and then be direct and request facts in written form, either paper or CD.

      11 months ago
    • MariePierre's Avatar

      I'm sorry for the bad experiences so many of you had. The breast biopsy for me was team work; I played my part and made it as easy as I could for the doctor and his assistants to access the tissues that they needed for the biopsy. The doctor (a gentle soul) reassured me that the lab near me will have the report by the third day. I was able to pick up the report on that third day.

      I called my PCP after seven days to request a visit since I didn't hear from him; I took the result with me. His desk was covered with paper. I told him that I had my breast biopsy about ten days ago and wanted to discuss the results with him.

      Well-meaning women were praying for God to take this cancer from me. I thanked them. I wanted God to help me accept my situation and help me find the best way to resolve it. I stayed close to few family members and friends, and I have been able to remain positive throughout. I had a hard time with chemo, so many people know that I'm living with 3rd stage cancer. It's ok. I'm a little imperfect like everybody else. I'm thankful for my life.

      11 months ago
    • cheryncp's Avatar

      About 2 weeks.

      11 months ago
    • pianoplayer's Avatar

      In 2011 I complained to my x cancer dr. for about 3 years of pain in my bones but she said I was to healthy so my pcp ordered a bone scan .Told right away It was bone cancer and she said she will give me a scan to see if its any where else .It was. In my lungs too. She said 6 months to live without chemo again. Left her for another dr. who said it was very slow and could be controlled with pills. now pills stopped working so it looks like chemo ahead. Done crying and ready to face whatever.

      11 months ago
    • Terri's Avatar

      The surgeon tried calling me at work, couldn’t get through, called my husband and told him. My husband had to tell me when I got home from work. You should have seen his face. It was a terrible experience.

      11 months ago
    • mofields' Avatar

      There really is no good way to give anyone any kind of bad news and we tend to dislike the person who has to do it. I found a lump back in 2013, a few days later had a mammogram (it was right before Christmas so everyone was getting their end of year physicals done), and saw my surgical oncologist in January. Had the biopsy and was told it would be a few days until we heard. When it was close to a week I called the office and was called back that evening by the surgeon himself. Asked if my husband and I could come to his office the next evening (after hours). I asked him to tell me over the phone - but he wouldn't. I knew it had to be bad. So we traveled to the office and got the cancer news there.

      11 months ago
    • petieagnor's Avatar

      Gosh, I read all of your comments which are all over the place. I'm still reeling from my experience. My cancer was found through a routine CT scan after an ablation. Saw a pulmonary in March for a biopsy; sent to a thoracic surgeon who wasn't convinced it was cancer. He wanted to see if it grew! Did a second biopsy in July; confirmed; gave me the report & said he couldn't help me & walked out of the room saying see my previous oncologist that had the same bedside manner as he. I have MBC. Four months! I have a new oncologist, a great cardiologist & caring PCP. 2 1/2 years out & doing great. This website is great for support as my hospital complex doesn't have any. So thankful for you guys.

      11 months ago

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