My Ovacome
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How long to wait before beginning chemo?

Hi All,

I am in Italy visiting my mum, she is still in hospital after having 2 lots of fluid drained from her lung. She is feeling a lot better now after 1 week of rest. They will decide soon when to start her chemo regime (4 courses of taxol/ carboplatin)

My mum is 73 and in quite good health for age, she has the ascites and her OC is advanced to include lymph nodes in abdomen area. My concern is that they seem to be taking their time, firstly with the whole prognosis and various tests she had to do (4wks) and now the chemo delay,its another 2 wks on. The gyno said they could not operate now, but would do so after the chemo. I am worried that these delays will only make a bad situation even worse, i understand that she needs her strength for the chemo, but the fluid may return in the mean time and then we are back to square one. Feeling confused and frustrated, tomorrow will speak to Dr (no senior drs one around at w/e ) before flying home to London.

Many thanks to you all


4 Replies

So sorry about your mam and must be very hard for you living so far away.

While I can only speak from my experience it was 6 weeks from first specialist consultation to chemo.

We all want it "got at" straight away and christmas/ new year got in the way. Chemo Dr got a bit assertive and said two weeks delay would have no effect on outcome.

I am 5/6 th thro the chemo sessions and have had the op after three sessions so can't give the official outcome yet but the op got 90% and my CA125 was nearly normal a month ago, can't remember starting figure but it was high so I am hopeful of getting to remission.

These are the replys I got to a similar question.

Wishing you the best.


Hi Mau,

It may reassure you to know that I am almost your mMum's age. I was diagnosed in Sept 2009 with the following time table.

Tues Sept 2nd saw GP

Friday, colorectal surgeon - siygmoidoscopy,

Following week Ct scan followed by biopsy

Following week Gynae

Diagnosis Stage 3C OC, not curable but treatable, need to learn to live with it as a chronc conditin!

Following week oncologist

Oct 23rd first chemo

2further chemos at 3 weekly intervals

Jan 4th 2010 debulking surgery

3further rounds of chemo (carbo / taxol)

Jan 2011 new tumour

March 2011 further chemo plus Trial cediranib

April 2011 alergic reaction to next 2 rounds of chemo (carboplatin)

Changed chemo to cisplatin

July 2011 chemo ineffectve - discontinued

August 2011 possibility of further surgery discussed

Sept case went to MDT

Further consulttin with onc for results

Saw gynae late Oct / early Nov

Surgery 5th dec 2011 tumour removed but colostomy needed.

Now back riding my bike at least 4 miles a day and celebrating 72nd birthday at a Japanese restaurant in 3 weeks time.

Just hope this will reassure you that you r mum's timetable is not going to reduce her chances of doing well.

My daughter lives in London, 200 miles away, so even beig in the UK is no easier for her as she has a high powered career in internet security so she cannot be with me as much as she would like to. Shehas beena great support and no doubt, like you, she worries but she has learned that I can cope and she cannot do more. My son lives in Devon, over 300 mils away, he got aerated over delays too but even he has accepted that I am able to cope and am doing as well as I can!

Love Margaret!


Thank you Margaret,

back home in London now, mum started her first chemo session yesterday, hope she handles it well.

I feel guilty having to leave and leaving my father out there to handle things while i can switch off a bit in my life over here and carry on as "normal" (does not seem right).

Anyway i wish you well in your treatment and impressed with your cycling trips!


Dear Mau

It must be awful trying to help on a visit to Italy if you don't know what the system is there. As I understand it most European countries are ahead of us in the treatment of Ovarian Cancer so that should be reassuring for you. I have the same stage with the tumours having spread to the lymph nodes. Treatment was very prompt:

Appointment with GP

Paid privately for Scan - 2 days later

Next Day follow-up appointment with GP and emergency referral to Gynaecologist

5 days later appointment with general Gynaecologist/2nd scan and CA125 Blood Test

10 days later appointment with specialist Gynae-Oncologist Surgeon to agree surgical procedure

12 days later surgery

6 weeks later chemotherapy - Carbo-platin only which has less side effects.

Some patients receive chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumours. My uterus was crammed with very large tumours and the scan/ultrasound also revealed small tumours widespread and deep in the abdominal cavity (lymph nodes). I am aware that my GP, the general gynaecologist, and the specialist oncology-gynaecologist all pushed for immediate treatment. At my follow-up appointment 6 weeks after surgery the chemotherapy had pre-arranged by the specialist in anticipation that I would opt for this and to see the Ovarian Consultant before she went on maternity leave. I do think it's very important to press for treatment as soon as it can be arranged.

I wish your mum luck and good health with her treatment. I was very lucky to have responded well to surgery and chemotherapy and have enjoyed 18 months feeling and looking well. I think I would have been very miserable having Taxol and dealing with hair loss and other side-effects in addition to the long hospital visits needed to administer the two chemotherapy treatments.

It sounds corny but there's no alternative other than taking one step at a time and seeing how you mum responds to each of those steps.

Sending my love and best wishes. xx Annie


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