How long after surgery should chemo start?

I had my debulking surgery on January 6th and came home on the 12th. The oncologist wants to see me on Feb 1st to discuss my chemo regime and getting the ports put in. I was wondedering if I am waiting too long to start chemo? The doc says she always waits 2 weeks after the patient gets the staples out to give the body some time to heal before putting chemo in it especially since I am dong IV/IP. Does that sound right? I am just afraid that as I sit and heal from surgery that there are cells in there looking for something to attach to and grow. At the same time with as sore and tender as I still am I can't imagine dealing with the chemo on top of it just yet. I am curious to see what some of you think.

Report post

20 replies. Join the discussion

That is standard after debulking. The debulking removed any visible cancer. The chemo then goes in to try and kill off any cells that were hiding. No need to panic. Remain calm and give your body a chance to heal. Good luck to you in your fight. Keep communicating with this discussion board. There are many of us who have been just where you are now.

Cheryl

Report post

I had my hysterectomy and debaulking surgery on 3/22/10 and started chemotherapy five weeks later. Don't worry about cancer cells that may be hiding...the chemotherapy will take care of them. I was very fortunate to breeze through chemotherapy so easily. I expected to be sick & fatigued, but instead I was an insomniac that couldn't get enough to eat...I actually gained 22 pounds while on chemo! I believe in the power of prayer and a positive attitude. I wish you the best. This site is a blessing. Please continue to ask questions and share your thoughts...we are all here for each other!

Report post

I had my debulking surgery at Sloan and started chemo 5 weeks later .
Also doing the IV/IP
start my 5th treatment on Monday .

Report post

I had my debulking at MD Anderson in Houston and started chemo 7 days after TAH before I left the hospital. I was only on IV chemo, did not do IP.

Report post

I interrogated the onc about this as they had me wait 6 weeks after surgery before round 1. His reply was that there were studies done starting chemo right after surgery, two weeks after surgery and 6 weeks after surgery and they found there is NO DIFFERENCE in outcome. So rest easy. You want a fully functioning bowel before you do chemo or else you'll suffer more.

Report post

In the old days when I was dx. IIIc in 1987, it took a long time to hear bowel sounds, about a week. They then started liquids by mouth. I was in the hospital for 10 days and on the ninth night they gave me my first dose of chemo. Six months later when I had second look surgery, it was the same thing again. I waited the 7 days for bowel sounds, started liquids and then on the night before going home, I received my first dose of IP treatment. The IP port was put in during the second look surgery.

The words "quality of life" hadn't been invented BUT I survived and I am here to tell my story so it was worth it.

Helen

Report post

I, too, waited five weeks. Not only did I lose a great deal of weight after surgery, but kept having fluid pockets at the sight of my scar. My doctor wanted to wait until everything was healed and to give me time to get my strength back somewhat. I'm so glad she did because my white cells plummeted during chemo; I'm not sure my body could have handled it right after surgery.

Report post

I guess it also depends on how aggressive the cell is. Mine is clear cell (grade 3) and my chemo started 8 days after the surgery. If i could chose, i'd prefer to start a lit bit later coz i felt really tired after my first chemo.

Report post

My docs put my port in before I left the hospital with my debulking surgery. I started my chemo 3 weeks later & did great.

Perhaps it depends on your Stage of OVC...the worse the cancer, the faster they want to get you started &/or the debulking process itself...sub-optimal debulking, the faster they want to get you started...just a thot.

I'm Stage 4 with sub-optimal debulking so they wanted me going ASAP. I did great after surgery & I was ready to start chemo! Every moment before starting chemo, I felt like I was doing nothing to get rid of the cancer still left in me; that was terrible for me/to me because I wasn't 'doing anything' to get rid of the cancer. I was ready to get started & fight.

Just FYI...that was 2 years ago...Hells Yeah!

Lots of prayers comin' your way! Don't stress over the differences in everyone's timelines; you & your docs do what is best for you & Fight Like Hell...Make Us Proud!!!!

;-)

Report post

I started 5 weeks after surgery. I felt that I had quite well healed from the surgery and started nice walks and simple exercises. I felt ready and strong for chemo which I feel allowed me to continue to build up my exercise routine during chemo and be stronger at dealing with the fatigue. I think also your ONC will have some advice depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer. However, I am glad I went into it as strong as possible after surgery.

Report post

I went for port insertion 4 weeks after my surgery, has a post-op visit one week following that when he told me to see the oncologist during the next week and start chemo the week after that. Seven weeks in all from surgery to chemo. Plenty of time to heal and feel my best before it started. And my CA125 was only 24 before the first chemo. Those cells aren't growing so fast, especially if you've had optimal outcome from surgery.

Report post

I had suboptimal debulking. The left bulks around my bowels since they did not want to risk perforating the bowel walls.

I had my first chemo 25 days after the surgery. I really wanted to start earlier but the snow blizzard in the East Coast during the last week of Dec made it impossible since the oncology department had to handle all the back loads when the hospital closed for all non life threatening procedures for a few day.

I am on a dose dense regimen (chemo every week, with Avastin thrown in at the beginning of the second round (each round consists of three weeks) and every three weeks there after).

A funny thing is, within a week after my first chemo, I already felt that chemo is working. Two weeks prior to surgery, I had noticed abdominal symptoms that I associated with the cancer making its presence felt (not pain, but some odd, and sometime sharp, not painful, sensations). Within a week from the first session, I noticed that those sensations are far less frequent and far subtler. Yesterday was my third weekly chemo, and by now symptoms have even further abated. This is after the first round (each round of mine has three weeks) even before Avastin kicked in.

I mentioned this to a friend who is a gynecologist as my wild optimism fooling me. She said, actually the feelings are real. Those women who turned out to be a responder (that is, whose disease is responding well to chemo) report that all the time. Of course, some women are not very in tune with subtle changes in their body and may not realize the difference.

I will get my first CA125 test next week since I started the chemo. CA 125 prior to chemo was 153. If I see a noticeable drop, I will know that I was not imaging things.

Report post

Thank you everyone for sharing. I am not as worried now.

Report post

That sounds reasonable.

Report post

after the surg -after leaving the hospital-i remember starting the chemo before the stitches were removed- i had 5 chemo -taxol + ? treatments then the surg then 5 more- treatments, the m,d said it was sort of mopping up after the surg.-i just remember thinking i wanted the most agressive treatment as soon as possible-- and i guess after bouncing back from all that 2 different chemo treatments series, taxol & doxil &now starting on my 3rd i am still hopeful
-i still trust and have confidence in my medical team.and trust their judgement and respect their opinion-
i have an theory that confidence can be a positive and useful tool- and a
optimistic attitude may be the only tools i have at my disposal,

Report post

oh and yes i think they put my port in before the first after surg chemo treatment-i have a fear of iv's- so grateful to have the pick line replaced with the power port-

Report post

I started my treatment 5 weeks after my surgery in 08, i started chemo on April 30th 08. i didn't have the port until 12-09. just relax and let your body heal so when chemo does start you will be feeling better, also i suggest taking with you (this is what i did) a bag of snacks, (carrot sticks, celery sticks, peanut butter, chicken salad, crackers, etc....i also took a couple of bottles of juice as well (i was there all day for my very first treatments and eating small bites of food all day helped me keep myself nourished...(my Dietitian called me the poster child for cancer) because of the food. and don't push yourself after chemo everyone is different but most of us feel great after having treatment but then feels at a low a few days later so just dont expect to be going around cleaning and carefree, sit and relax. Will keep you in my prayers..good luck

Report post

I also started roughly 4- 5 weeks after my surgery and also chose iv/ip the route. I picked my poison on my 3 week appointment after surgery, we scheduled the port "installation" for I think a week and a half from then.

Take this opportunity to rest. Chemo can do a number on you. I don't say this to scare you but, to prepare you. It can be tiring and taxing on your body. You deserve this time to just relax do that now. Easier said than done. Right?

Good luck!

Report post

I had my surgery on the July 15, 2009, my first chemo two weeks later Friday, July 31 and then back to work the following Monday August 3. I moved a bit slower, but found everything healed quicker, including my emotions!

Report post

My port a cath was implanted, which I think I was "imported" 3 weeks post debulking with chemo the very next day.

After having a close and personal relationship with this port a cath over 11 years, my Oncologist wants it removed, so I guess I'll be "de-ported" sometime next month. I think that's cause for celebration!!!

Laurel

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support OCNA

Help the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

Discussion topics

Support OCNA

Donate to OCNA

Community leaders