hi to all; I’d like to hear from people that have gone thru the BC Cancer Agency process. How many people have had Chemo prior to surgery and why. I’ve always thought surgery was 1st, then chemo. I would think that chemo works better fighting against a smaller volume of cancer? I meet with an oncologist in a couple of days, and I’m so concerned that I won’t be having a surgery scheduled. Reason being, that you’d think your 1st appt. would be with a surgeon. That’s why I’d like to know more about BC Cancer Agency’s process. I just want the cancer out, before it spreads any further. Am I allowed to be proactive in saying I’d like surgery as my 1st line of treatment? Sorry, as you can see, this is all I think about. I have to be patient for 2 more days👍
Secondly, generally speaking oncologists are of two types that directly treat us. The first a gynecological oncologist and they are surgeons. The other medical oncologists who are more focused on chemical treatment for cancer. Both usually collaborate on your treatment plan.
Treatment plans differ. There is no one stop protocol that's better than another. Much is dependent on your type of cancer, the stage you are at, dispersion of cancer in your body...and multiple personal health factors. But never feel you can't ask about options that have been considered and why they are not recommended.
I am one who "needs to understand", so I drove my oncologist crazy with questions and didn't let up until I felt I clearly understood his answers. Fortunately mine had enormous patience. But I can recall pressing and pressing to understand why traditional chemo is usually the infusion of two separate drugs and what each does separately and in combination.
I'm sure you'll be hearing from our gals in BC, there are lots of them. But in the meantime, do order By Your Side. Chapter 5 on page 51 is full of information on treatment options and even provides a list of questions to think about and ask your oncologist when discussing your treatment plan. You can get it soft and hard copy. I'd recommend ordering both since your appointment is imminent and you can get the soft copy immediately. I keep a hard copy of it, and Still By Your Side (for recurrence, which I am in) handy on my desk for ongoing reference. https://ovariancanada.org/Living-with-Ovarian-Cancer/Support-resources
Good luck with your meeting. I hope all of your questions and concerns are addressed and you come out of it feeling fully supported. Let us know and do continue to reach out here or by joining our Teal Thursday live chats as the need arises. We've all walked in your shoes, and we 're all here to help support you.
I am also in BC. I had one chemo prior to surgery and then 5 after. Prior to the decision I did have a biopsy and it indicated I have low grade. I was told that typically surgery first then chemo for low grade, while high grade they would have done 3 sessions of chemo first, they surgery and then 3 more chemo’s. I had one chemo first as I was waiting for surgery and had ascities (fluid in my belly) they wanted cleared up prior to surgery.
This time around I developed a sensitivity to the Carboplatin. No problem at all with it five years ago. But this time, about half way through my 5th cycle my palms turned red and started itching and my sinuses plugged up so I knew immediately I was reacting. We stopped it, injected a cortisone and I was fine in 15 minutes. I went back the next week to try again with a slower drip, some extra premeds, and heavy premed dosing day of and still reacted, this time before they could finish even a quarter of the dose. So there was no point trying again and they've switched me to Cisplatin since I'm very platinum sensitive and so far so good after two treatments using it. As I understand it it's not at all unusual to build up an intolerance to the Carbo over time. In fact pretty unusual that it didn't happen five years ago.
In either case, don't let it all scare you. I never felt for a moment that the nurses and staff in the chemo room weren't totally in control and I was never in any danger. And as for discomfort, they move so fast to counter the effects that you're back to normal incredibly quickly.
What I really wanted to share with you is that there is a wonderful hat store in Granville Island. Tell the store you are a cancer patient and they give you a discount!