Diagnosis and treatment are two very different things. There are many different treatment options even for the same diagnosis. What answers are you waiting for? Test results, biopsies, etc? It was right around a month between my diagnosis and the start of treatment. All of the testing and waiting for results is difficult but I'm sure you don't want to jump blindly into a treatment plan that may not be a good choice for you.
Vaginal Cancer Questions
How long does it take from time of diagnosis until treatment begins?
Asked by joey on Sunday, July 8, 2012
How long does it take from time of diagnosis until treatment begins?
It seems that once it is determined that treatment is imperative, every one moves in slow motion while you're on pins and needles, waiting for answers.
8 Answers from the Community
As usual with cancer, there's no one answer. The Onc who dx my stage IV colon cancer was in no hurry to get my port in and start treatment since "I had cancer for a while, what's another month?". That was totally unacceptable for me so with my brother's help, I got a second opinion at Sloan Kettering within two days, we found a surgeon who could put the port in the following day, found I could start chemo the day after that so within a week of dx I had found a great Onc, had my porto-cath installed, and started chemo.
I have a feeling that if it was my first Onc's (pardon me) "XXX on the line" things would have moved much, much faster. Needless to say he was fired within the week.
Sometimes there may be a need to move slowly, in other cases, time is of the essence and one could move quicker. I have faith in my current Onc's judgement. If you feel they are dragging their feet, I would question them and have them explain their reasoning to you.
Good question to ask this group and, as always, good answers!
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in Sept. 2011. They started testing to rule anything else out, then to see if I could tolerate chemo: Heart; lungs; kidneys. They followed that with Bone Surveys; Cat Scans and MRIs. Treatment did not start until December.
Like others have said, there are a lot of variables so it's best you talk with your doctor and see what his plans our. Be actively involved in ALL decisions and don't just say "OK". Ask questions of your doctors no matter how unimportant you may think they are. Keep asking this group questions if you are not sure of something.
I was diagnosed in July 2011 with stage III Metastized Melanoma. I was diagnosed with Melanoma in May 2011. My surgeon likes to complete the wide excerssion within 30 days of first diagnosis. I had my surgery to remove the tumor in June 2011 and more testing occurred during this surgery. One week later my surgeon's office called and the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I had to have a complete lymph node dissection under my right axillary. My surgeon wanted my body to heal from the first surgery before he did the second surgery. It was about four weeks. Two weeks after my second surgery I had my first visit with my oncologist. I started my chemo treatments two weeks later. From initial diagnosis to starting chemo was a little more then three months.
As others have noted there is no 1 answer for this question. It will depend upon your general health, the nature of the diagnosis , the type of cancer you have, what course of treatment is planned and more. I agree that you should be unafraid to question the doctors until you are satisfied that you understand the plan of attack. I went from diagnosis of stage IV Pancreatic Cancer to chemo treatment in about 20 minutes and have been with this Oncologist for a year and a half. I speak with him very directly and bluntly and ask that he offer his opinions of my progress in that same manner. That system works very well for us and I would hope it would work as well for others in the fight. Don't be afraid to seek a second opinion even if you like your present team. It never hurts to get the reassurance of other experts in the field or to learn that there are options available. But whatever you do PLEASE take the most control you can in your fight. The one thing that bothers me most is that I have lost control over most aspects of my life and taking control over my treatment has helped me remain involved in that life. I seek advise from those whom I trust to know more than me but still make all final decisions regarding the course I want to take in my personal battle with the disease.
Great answers here, but yes, every one's situation is different. Here are things that I learned on my journey.
My surgeon had me wait a month after my diagnosis. I almost had to start taking anti-anxiety meds, but his reason was due to his schedule. He takes the most complex procedures, ones that might take longer due to the unknown, first thing in the morning. His explanation was that he wanted to allow the most time for those cases should he get in there and find that they are going to take the longest. I remember him telling me that he wouldn't be able to determine how long or how extensive the surgery was going to be until he got in there. So I had to wait a month to be scheduled as his first surgery of the day. It turned out being a good thing because my surgery was more complicated and ended up going 7 hours. I hated the wait, but in the long run, I'm glad he scheduled me when he was freshest and not rushed.
From what I have heard from others, it is pretty standard to wait 4-6 weeks after surgery to begin chemo. As my surgeon told me, "It's going to kick your butt." I had to be completely recovered. My body needed to be full-strength before I began chemo. Another good call on the part of my surgeon (who incidentally, I really didn't like, but he was excellent at what he did).
During those 4-6 weeks, I met with many oncologists, doctors, and had my port put in. Personally, I needed time to heal from having the port put in. I'm glad I didn't start chemo immediately after that surgery. I was very, very sore and I can't imagine being that sore and then having a chemo treatment.
This was one time in my life when I wasn't shy about getting many opinions, talking to as many professionals as possible. I found a consensus among everyone I talked to, so I was confident that my doctors were leading me in the right direction. If even one doctor tells you that your cancer is aggressive and that you should act faster, do it.
It really depends on what you are referring to as "treatment." If you are thinking radiation or chemotherapy AFTER surgery, the oncologist usually wants to to heal from surgery before doing those types of treatment so that when your immune system is compromised, you aren't at risk of not healing. Chemotherapy and radiation can also occur BEFORE surgery and that will start once you make your treatment decision. In some cases I have seen people start treatment the same day or same week depending on the severity of their condition and treatment options. So as with many questions when it comes to cancer the wholly unsatisfying answer is...it depends.