neoadjuvant chemo + surgery

Hello everyone,

I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular bc in May. I am about halfway through chemo (Fec then taxol) and will be having surgery at the end. I’ll be seeing my surgeon soon to evaluate my progress and although I have some questions ready and will be getting some answers, I thought I’d ask your advice on this aspectas I don’t know quite how long I’ll be able to spend talking to him :

I understand there will be a bit of a treatment gap after chemo to allow me to build up a bit of strength for surgery, but generally how long is this gap likely to be ? A month ? Six weeks ? Or if the chemo has done a REALLY good job could the surgery become almost elective ie could i ask to wait as long as 7 or 8 weeks ? We have family commitments that end of the year and obviously would drop them if clinically necessary but it would be helpful to hear your experiences. Thank you !

Hi there,as we all know,everyones different but my particular experience was this;-diagnosed November last year,grade 3 IBC, had 6 FECs. Last chemo was march 26th, mastectomy went ahead 6th May radiotherapy followed 16th June. At no time was I given any say or choices,I was glad about that,would have agonised over any decisions in case I made any wrong choices. I wish you the best of everything, in my experience,the experts know their onions and are very obliging if you have a holiday etc booked. love Mags x

In my case, I was told surgery should have happened by 6 weeks from last infusion (I did taxol then fec the opposite) as any longer might give the chance to the tumour to grow back. I had a complete pathological response, but they cannot find that out until surgery as diagnostic tools cannot see smaller tumours which may still be there. Hope this helps, obviously you will ahve to check with your surgeon as well, as there may be a bit of leeway in different situations.

good luck

Thank you both; that’s really helpful information. Just trying to think ahead a little and anticipate what could be ahead.

I also had IBC and not sure if they try to have a smaller gap for that as it is so aggressive… my final chemo was the last week in oct and surgery November 27th and my rads started jan 15th…



I am another IBC lady and had chemo before surgery. I was told that they don’t like to leave too long a gap between chemo and surgery because they don’t want to give the cancer a chance to start regrowing. I had my surgery 5 weeks after chemo finished - I was not asked just told.


I finished taxotere last october and had my surgery exactly a month later. I too am an IBC lady.

Thank you all for your replies. I’ve seen the surgeon again and he thinks he will operate in January which, clinical issues all being equal, is good news for me as it means we can after all have a break and a family hol at Christmas after my last chemo which is scheduled for late Nov. And there’s always the chance chemo will run beyond that date if I have gaps due to infection/low blood counts etc. Good luck all of you. It’s a bloody long haul isn’t it ?