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Chemo before or after surgery?

arielrabbit77 Member Posts: 2

Hello everyone!

Can't believe I'm actually here. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma in my right breast on 8/26. Then they wanted me to get an MRI done at a real cancer center a month later. I live in a remote area. So, I did on 9/22. Got the results 9/23 and they found MORE masses now in my left breast. I also had 2cm enlarged axillary lymph nodes in my right armpit. So, I had to get 3 biopsies done in one day!!! Now I wait for my results for a week. Chemo has been talked about. But not yet confirmed. I hate this wait. I only wanted to get a surgery date and option after the MRI! What usually comes first tho? Chemo or surgery???


  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    edited September 2022
    It depends! After all your testing is complete they will tell you which they recommend doing first. Waiting sucks, but it can take some time to get a complete picture of the situation in order to decide on the best course of treatment.
  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
    edited September 2022

    Hi arielrabbit77,

    We are so sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis, but we are glad that you have come to for support. We understand and empathize with you, waiting is a real challenge and among the hardest to deal with as a newly diagnosed patient. You pose a great questions regarding chemo and surgery. Parakeetsrule is correct; it really depends. Your Breast Cancer Team or oncologist will discuss the various options based specifically on YOUR case. Everyone is different so there are a variety of options that are out there in terms of treatments and treatment sequence.

    You are at a great place to gain knowledge and receive support. We are glad that you have posted and are getting responses. Please let us know if there is any additional information you may be seeking. We also have virtual meetups for individuals currently going through treatment. The information is linked below.


    The Mods

    Zoom Meetups

    In Treatment for Breast Cancer?

    Tuesdays, 1 pm ET and Thursdays, 6 pm ET

    Come talk with others just starting or in the process of treatment in a relaxing, confidential, and supportive virtual environment.

    Register in advance for these meetings:

    Tuesday meetup registration

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  • brinkofeternity
    brinkofeternity Member Posts: 181
    edited September 2022

    Just wanted to mention that it seems more often than not, people get surgery first, then chemo. In some cases it’s chemo first, then surgery.

    In my case I was in a pilot study where they wanted to see how the tumors respond to the drugs, so I had chemo both before and after surgery. Yes it did delay my surgery by a few months, but I could see the chemo shrinking the tumor which helped ease my mind. Sorry you have to go through this. Take care!