Breast cancer: Normal? It's taking so long to start treatment

Posted by pegannie @pegannie, Jan 10, 2020

I had my mammogram in September 2019. I was diagnosed with cancer on November 18. I still have not started treatment yet. I have gone for so many tests…but no treatment has started. My port was put in this week I have a test today…and a test next week…then I meet with my oncologist the next week. Does it normally take 4 months to get started????

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I had my mammogram in early May, diagnosed in June, couldn't see oncologists until end of July. Then, more scans ordered. Finally decided we could start radiation only at end of August. Four months of anxiety, but from what I hear, this is a normal timeline. I am now six months post surgery and just went through follow up appointments.
As much as we want to get through this diagnosis, the cancer journey takes time. You are on the right track by asking questions and seeking answers. Good luck to you as you continue your journey. You got this!


I understand your concern. The first time I had BC, there seemed to be much more urgency in getting quick treatment.. that was 13 years ago. The second time, 2 years ago was very concerning to me. First there was the radiologist that read two MRIs and diagnosed the anomaly in my breast as benign. I insisted on a biopsy and found that I had invasive ductal carcinoma. That was the middle of April 2018. I had surgery 10 days later. Then I had to wait a month to meet with the oncologist, then met with the radiation oncologist another month later and did not start radiation until the first of July. Believe me, I was and am still concerned with the delay in treatment. Sometimes I wonder whether treatment is based on the patient’s needs or the doctors’ work schedule. I have become very concerned/disgusted with the whole thing. The first two oncologists I went to were awful and I moved on. Believe me, they are not all good at their jobs. Finally I found someone who is really up to date…he is actually the chief oncologist for a major health system in PA. He is excited about the genetics of cancer. He is kind and caring, takes his time and has answered all my questions. I feel very secure with him. Back to your issue…I think that maybe the timeline for treatment has lengthened because of number of people being diagnosed with cancer. All I can say is to get the needed treatment ASAP and if you then question things and are not happy, then move on to a new Dr. after my first experience I knew what to expect. I felt the second time around, I was just treated with the approved protocol and just became a number until I met this Dr that I have now. Neither of the first two oncologists I went to would answer my questions. If you have questions, ask them. You are entitled to answers. It is a very scary thing to go through and I also was concerned about the treatment time. Good luck.


Couldn't agree more. One oncologist with whom I conferred for a second opinion said, and I quote, "I go first, and then if there's time, you can ask your questions." It was post-chemo and I was in no mood. I walked. Another with whom I asked for a second opinion, started yelling at my questions. He viewed my questions as arguing with his opinion. I settled for a doctor who may not be the best at his craft, but we have great conversations where I actually receive the information that I seek, even when I may not like the answers.

And, yes… the healthcare system is in crisis. Students aren't opting for medical degrees because of the loan-debt burden; we have doctor and nurse shortages everywhere so we are trying to import them to fill the needs; at the same time, hospitals are cutting costs, particularly personnel expenses; insurance reimbursements to medical facilities and physicians are creeping down as insurance premiums and deductibles move up; the Baby Boomers are mostly retired now, and the birth rate is at a standstill; drugs availability is strained, and some companies are making cancer drugs so expensive that no one can afford them. At the same time, and in my view, we also have poisoned our nest with pesticides and other chemicals in the water and food chain, increasing cancers in the population. To top it off, I recently read that, those of us who were put on a combination of estrogen and progesterone for menopausal syndromes (and there were many of us), can expect greatly increased risks for breast cancer for twenty years or more after stopping it. It's s sobering situation.

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