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1-month delay in any form of treatment a cause for concern?

berkeleydaughter Member Posts: 2
edited January 2022 in Stage III Breast Cancer

Hi everyone, My mom was diagnosed with HER2 positive, Stage 3 breast cancer (6+ cm mass in breast as well as cancer in the axillary and possibly cervical nodes) almost a month ago. I am really worried that this is too long of a wait. For reasons I won't go into, we switched her insurance at the start of this month and she is still waiting to get in with an oncologist, which means she likely won't be able to start neoadjuvant chemo for another couple weeks.

Shortly after her diagnosis, her tumor team told us that she needed to undergo a mastectomy and lumpectomy first before undergoing chemo. The day before surgery, her surgeon consulted with a diff oncologist who advised that she needed to undergo chemo first. So we lost over 2 weeks waiting for surgery to go and now we're being delayed because no oncologist can see her before next week. I also can't get anyone on the phone to reassure us that the additional delay will not be a problem.

Has anyone been in a similar situation who can offer reassurances or suggestions?


  • redcanoe
    redcanoe Member Posts: 72

    her2+ cancer is very aggressive. I personally would push to see if she can be seen sooner.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293

    I've not seen research about timing between dx & neoadjuvant but there's some research about timing from surgery to start of chemo which suggested <60 days was an appropriate goal.

    So she has an appointment next week? That's excellent. Bring all your copies of your records with you. get everything - because I'd worry about switches from insurance screwing things up. At the point you don't want any delays due to test results not being available.

    Be ready for the appt with list of questions. Find out if they want more tests or scans. HER2+ chemo treatment can sometimes affect the heart so they might want an echo or MUGA test as a baseline.

    Hang in there! It will get better once she gets a plan. This waiting & being bounced around part must be so stressful. I hope you can find something fun to do to distract each other.

  • berkeleydaughter
    berkeleydaughter Member Posts: 2

    Thanks for your posts. The good news is the new team reviewed my mom's file this morning and scheduled her for a port placement in a couple of days. So hopefully, she'll be able to start chemo within a couple days after meeting her new oncologist next week. We're heading to the beach tomorrow to take in some fresh air and take our minds off the waiting game.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 468

    great news! I hope you and your mom have a wonderful weekend

  • jhl
    jhl Member Posts: 174

    Good news! Things are moving, just slowly. Enjoy the beach and the spring weather.

  • kathleen1966
    kathleen1966 Member Posts: 68

    there was some wait time for me after my initial diagnosis. It was a month before I had surgery (mastectomy first), then another month to recover and have the port placed. I believe my first chemo was in the middle of September. My oncologist did show a desire to speed the process up, saying we needed to move fast so this “thing” didn’t get a hold of me again. I had no sign of lymph node invasion in July (on an MRI scan and a PET scan and an ultrasound biopsy of one lymph node with thickening that came back negative for cancer) and when I had surgery one month later there were 4 positive lymph nodes, two with visible cancer during surgery (3.5 lymph node, and another large one). I found it hard to believe the cancer could progress this fast but they did attribute it to the Her2+ (still think it was just not detected with imaging). You should feel confident that the treatment for your mothers Her2+ cancer is excellent with good outcomes, even for stage 3 with positive nodes. I had surgery first, then chemo/radiation, Herceptin only for the rest of the year.