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Symptom onset ➡️ 1st Treatment (chemo or surgery)


I’m curious to know how long it’s taken, from your first initial onset of symptoms to your 1st line of treatment, being chemo or surgery (which ever came first).

Mine has been 20 weeks.


  • Annie1950
    Annie1950 Peer Support Vol
    @Lucy_BC I'm not medically trained but that seems far too long.  How frustrated you must be.  I hope you can pester the powers that be into faster treatment.  

    My first symptoms occurred in February 2020, I was diagnosed in March and my chemo treatment started in April.
    I knew something wasn't right and pushed my doctor for a CT scan after the ultrasound didn't reveal any results of significance.  She booked the scan and the earliest she could arrange was four months into the future.  I decided to go to the states and pay for a scan and whilst investigating where to go came across a clinic, not run by the government, called GNMI who gave me an appointment the next day!  When the results came back  showing stage 3 Ovarian Cancer I was flabbergasted and lived in a surreal world for a few weeks.  My doctor arranged for me to see a surgeon two months into the future to investigate and dictate when I could have the tumors removed and a gynecologist nine months into the future!  I was so disheartened and anxious.

    Being so frustrated with the lack of speed in  treatment I decided to go to the emergency department of my large local hospital and exaggerated my pain in order to be looked at quickly.  It worked!!!  Within weeks I was having chemo and was hooked up with a gynecological oncologist who was also a surgeon.  Unfortunately she was going into retirement but urged me to always stay with a gynecological oncologist since my results would be significantly better. 
    After the slow and terrifying start I'm now being looked after by a wonderful team at Princess Margaret and my treatment has been five star.

    I hope that you can get faster treatment for this horrible disease of ours.  Don't  be afraid to pester.  I know you'll feel so much better when you're in treatment, both mentally and physically.

    Big Hugs from Ontario:)

  • Fearless_Moderator
    Like Annie1950 I can only talk to experience here in the Ontario system and it's hard to give you a timeline from onset of symptoms. When I look back now I had symptoms three years before it even occurred to me there might be something more than bad diet and aging and even then my worst thought was lung cancer.  Suffice it say though that I had a exam by my GP the end of January 2017 that prompted a CT February 3.  The outcome of that was an appointment with the head of gynecology at Mount Sinai.two weeks later..the wrong referral since he's not an oncologist. But he got me to my gyn-onc at Princess Margaret the next week. From there things moved quickly.  Lung drained March 13, cardiologist appointment March 14 ( I have a congenital weird heart beat that scares everyone for now reason) , pre op appointments on the 16th, angioplasty to check my heart the 20th and surgery 27th. So we're looking at about 12 or 13 weeks from initial exam to beginning of first line treatment.  From there I was discharged April 4, surgical follow up 25th and then into chemo April 27 for 6 cycles ending August.  

    So given any delays caused by the drain on the medical systems, 20 weeks doesn't seem like long...although for a patient it feels like an eternity, doesn't it.   I can say, for my HGSC type which is considered the most aggressive it really didn't grow that fast. I know emotionally every day you feel like it's doubling in size and your risk is going up too fast.  I can recall that feeling of....just get it out of me!  And, like Annie1950, there's nothing wrong with being proactive if you're worried. A few well placed calls to remind them you can be available on a moments notice if a cancellation comes up or that for your emotional well being you'd like to have some questions answered sooner rather than later often gets things rolling faster.  And sometimes there are other private options to explore such as Anne has done.  

    We do have lots of members out in BC who would know the system out there better than I for guidance so hopefully some to them may pick up your question and respond.  And you can always reach out to Tracy Kolwich @TracyOCC
    our Regional representative for OCC who is out there and could, I'm sure, fill in some blanks for you. I encourage you to do that.  

    Keep us posted on your progress and do reach out anytime we can be of support to you.  In the meantime big hugs.. I know I felt I wouldn't get through this ever but here I am in my fifth year and while my cancer will never be cured 
    I'm still kicking and looking for a much a longer life ahead than I could have imagined at the outset. You'll get through this too.

  • @LUCY_BC - My hysterectomy was Jan 26, 2016. Three weeks to the day, the doctor phoned with results of the pathology. I was in the oncologists office two weeks later. He wanted a CT scan before beginning treatment to check for any other issues and I waited three weeks for the CT. Chemo began the next week. In one aspect I felt like I was being rushed into treatment, but on the other hand, I'm thankful I was able to receive treatment so quickly. I understand there are different protocols from province to province.
  • Hello Lucy ,

    So glad you are on this site and meeting others- I live in the Lower Mainland and would like to invite you to meet others on our Teal Tuesday Zoom call - 2nd Tuesday of the month at 10 am- if it is a fit for you , you will sense the friendship, wisdom and life experiences of other women diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. 

    Your question is very valid - sensing the change of your state of well being, meeting with your doctor to discuss  your symptoms, scheduling tests , and booking surgery and beginning chemo is such a rigorus experience- can take such a toll on our well being. Time frames have varied for each woman here in my area and with the added delays of Covid , I am sure it has been a challenge for you .Unfortunately the time frames have been longer since many doctors had not encountered the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer in their practice however personal/ professional education has made a huge difference over the years along with women being their own advocate to speed up " the system" 

    The good news is you have found us and I, along with others, are so pleased you are on the path with care and support  and hopefully we can offer you support here in posts and in the Teal hours. 

    I was diagnosed in April 1999 and have been blessed  since with good health and energy - I know the importance and value of meeting with others with Ovarian Cancer - gives us a space to be heard in a "knowing way" and a place to ask the questions that maybe one of the women has experienced and can offer her experience- I have been connected with OCC since my diagnosis and would be very happy to meet you on line as well as here ..if so, please be in touch with Tracy Kolwich, our regional manager and she will send you a link for our June meeting . In the meantime, I hope you are being well supported by the medical community at BC Cancer Agency and your questions and concerns are being answered ,Hugs 
    Thank you so much to all of you, for your positivity, your hope and of course your own experiences.  It really does help. The BC Cancer chemo nurses were incredible, they made my 6hr stay, go by very quickly.  I feel taken care of now, today being my first chemo.  I came away with my cancer card filled with appointments spanning into July (labs/scan/oncologist/surgeon).  I’m on a roll……into recovery😄 👍
  • Annie1950
    Annie1950 Peer Support Vol
    @LUCY_BC I'm so glad you're in a good place mentally and physically.  Now that you're in treatment I'm sure you're feeling a lot better. 😄Back to you:)