How long before your chemo start after diagnosis?

Hi All,


just a a quick question I was diagnosed TNBC G3 with lymph node involvement on th 19th of August. Saw the oncologist the following day and was told my chemo needs to start ASAP which was meant to be this coming week commencing 2/09. Received a letter from the post that states that I am not due to have a preassessment until 17th and then chemo 18th? I also have a follow up medical oncology after that? Any help from your experience please? I’m really worried



Any advise please? Sorry to be a pain 

Hi AnnaGabanna


I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 7th Dec 2018 and started chemotherapy at the beginning of February this year. Initially my biopsy came back as ER and PR negative, HER2 inconclusive. I had a lumpectomy and full ANC (node clearance) in June and biopsies from that confirmed that I am TNBC. It was a huge worry waiting for chemo to start, especially like you, my lump (Gremlim) was also grade 3 which I think most TN tumours are. My Gremlin didn’t change whilst waiting which no doubt that is something which is on your mind but is quite understandable and normal. I am on the ROSCO trial so my treatment plan was 4 rounds of FEC, surgery, 4 rounds of TC of which I have just had my 3rd  round. This will be followed by radiotherapy. The FEC shrank my lump from 21mm to 6mm but wasn’t so successful at destroying the cells in my lymph nodes. If it had been more successful then I would have had just 2 further rounds of FEC after surgery. That was the risk I was willing to undertake on joining a trial. The TC will destroy any cells that may have escaped. When you have a chemo start date then please join the group relevant to that month in the chemotherapy starters group where you will be able to chat and find plenty of support. I’m from the February group and there’s a couple of us that are TNBC. We’re a large chatty group so pop in for a chat, shout, rant, whatever, somepne will always reply. There are others in the groups from June onwards who are TN so you may find it helpful to pop into their groups too. Remember you are not alone and you can and will at through this. 

Susie B :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:    

Hi Anna


It’s only since joining this forum that I even realised people could have chemo before surgery. I was diagnosed late-September 2018 (after an initial ‘I don’t think there’s anything to worry about’ reaction from the consultant), had a full mastectomy and axillary clearance (19 of the 21 lymph nodes infected) mid-October and then a CT scan. Meantime, I was referred on to oncology. NICE guidelines specify a maximum of 90 days between surgery and chemotherapy so my first chemo had to be Christmas Eve, to get me in and started within the timescale. In all fairness, I was transferring from the private sector (surgery) to the NHS, on the oncologist’s advice - he works for both - so there would have been administrative delays.


It’s a terrible time as the anxiety escalates so easily but your oncology team know what they are doing and your safety is not at risk by such a delay. I too was told it must start ASAP and they would ‘throw everything they have at it,’ but the delays were still there. By January I was declared NED (no evidence of disease). The real problem is in our heads as we imagine all sorts of horrendous things as we wait. I can’t say don’t worry about it but I can say trust they know their job - it wouldn’t be in their interests to put you at any risk! Meantime, consider some soothing therapies like Reiki and reflexology and keep yourself healthy. Eat well - you will need all your physical strength for chemo. Make contact with any local services (Macmillan may be based at your hospital, there may be a BC Haven near you) and meet others in the same boat. I made the mistake of avoiding this and only in retrospect did I realise how much moral support I missed out on.


Good luck with what lies ahead. It’s not easy but it’s all manageable and you emerge with a huge load lifted.