1st visit to Oncologist 9/7--what to expect?

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/29/2006 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Good day to you all. Once again, I am new to this board. I have had surgery and lymph node dissection earlier this month and will be seeing the oncologist for the 1st time next week. I was wondering if any of you could tell me what I can expect? If chemo----surgeon says yes---how soon would it start?
So many questions, so little time!
Thanks, Judie

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 8/29/2006 5:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Judie...welcome to our board, and sorry you have to come here! I know nothing about Kaiser, so I'm afraid I can't help you much there.

Oncologists are all different. My first visit to the oncologist was informational (for her and me). We reviewed my family history, all my surgical results, and she gave her recommendations for treatment. I went back a few days later, had baseline bone scans, chest xray, muga, and blood panels run, and then I started chemo that same day. I was 22 days out from surgery at that point.

Some oncologists don't do baseline scans before chemo, some wait longer before beginning chemo. It really depends on what you and the oncologist think is best for you.

Good luck on your visit. Any other questions, I'm sure you'll get lots of answers here.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 688
   Posted 8/29/2006 6:23 PM (GMT -7)   

My first visit was very comfortable and informational. My husband went with me and the oncologist spent 1 1/2 hours with us. She explained everything from my chances of survival to different options in chemo. I felt very comfortable with her from the very first minute, make sure you get someone you like and trust because you will be spending alot of time with them. Don't let anyone brush you off when you have questions. You have to be your own advocate in your health care and knowledge is power. Study as much as you can, read lots of books and you will have a better idea of what to expect during your journey.

As far as starting chemo I had my lumpectomy, 2 weeks later my port a cath and one week later my first chemo. It can go as fast as you want, and I wanted to get it over as fast as I could.

Good luck to you and keep us posted.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/31/2006 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Judi! Well, you have come to the right place for answers and support. This is a wonderful group of women. We have all been where you are right now and are here to hold your hand throughout this journey.

Are you familiar w/ the onco that you are going to be seeing? If not, then, as someone said, the first visit will be one that you can evaluate and see if you feel that you will have confidence in this particular onco. Also, to get as much info about the course of treatment. If you DON'T feel comfortable w/ the onco, then set up another appt w/ a different one. Confidence in your medical team is half of the battle.

Keep a little notebook or recorder w/  you. Write down every question that you have, no matter how silly it sounds. Then take that w/ you to your onco visit and get the answers. If the dr doesn't answer them, in terms that you can understand, then find another dr.

Take someone w/ you. You are going to receive a great deal of information at the first visit. More than you will be able to remember. Having one or two people w/ you will allow them to write down the info as well as the answers to your questions. If you have a little tape recorder, take it w/ you. Then you can go back and listen to what all was said.

You didn't say what type of surgery you had. Most onco won't begin treatment until your incision is totally healed. Also, if you need any dental work done, get it before you begin chemo.

Come here anytime and ask questions or vent or whatever you need.



New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/31/2006 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you all.

In answer to your question Deb, I had a mastectomy w/ immed tram flap of lt breast and also reduction of rt breast on 7/31. The initial prelim rpt on day of that surg was neg for the sentinel node biopst. The next week was told there was 1/3 nodes positive and so I had a axillary l/n dissection on 8/16. both breasts and tummy healing very well. The underarm is still healign from the 2nd surg though. I dont know anything about the oncologist, but I am grateful it is a female. We'll have to wait and see.

Thank you for the information.

By the way....other than healing from prev surgeries....is there much delay in starting chemo from the time of 1st visit.......just want to get it over with.



Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/31/2006 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judi! Thanks for the additional info. To answer your question about when your chemo will start, well that all depends on the onco that you select. I saw my onco 2 weeks after my mastectomy, so there was a healing time of 4 weeks. Actually, she wanted to start it w/in 3 weeks but my daughter was getting married and I didn't want to take any chances of not feeling well. As someone said, your onco may want you to have a whole set of scans..PET, bone scan, muga, bloodwork, etc. This can take up to a week or more. Once those results are back, then a time will be set for your chemo to begin. Also, if you don't have a port, please ask your surgeon about getting one put in.
The chemo can be very hard on the veins. Also, they can draw your blood thru the port. Please be  careful and not let anyone take bp or give you a shot, etc. in the arm that you had the lymph nodes removed from. Guard that arm like it was made of china.
One other thing. The waiting and not knowing what is going to happen is one of the worst things about this darn disease. Please be assured that the treatment itself is NOT as bad as what your are imagining. Try to keep busy. Laugh as much as you can. Have fun. Go shopping. Just do anything to keep your mind occupied. It really does help!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 8/31/2006 9:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judie,
Welcome to the club no one wants to join.  My first visit with the onc was also very informative.  He should have been a professor!  LOL  I had a lumpectomy with lymph node removal and 3 weeks later, a mastectomy, because they found the cancer growing along the blood vessels.  That was Oct. 21, 2004.  I was a stage III, 6cm tumor with 1 lymph node involved (4 removed).  My chemo started the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  They wanted at least 4 weeks out of surgery for healing.  Since you had the TRAM flap reconstruction, they might want to wait a while - I'm not sure.  I just had that procedure in Jan. this year.  How are you doing with the recovery?  It is difficult, isn't it?  But, well worth it.  I was 44 years old at diagnosis. 
I was very lucky in that my chemo was not bad to deal with.  Mainly I was tired a lot and nauseous for a few days after each treatment.  I worked through the whole thing.  Losing the hair is the worst.  I took these ladies advise and shaved my head.  Then I bought a wig and wore it when I went out. 
You will get through this with lots of support.  This is a great place for information and help with anything.  Knowledge is the key.  Learn as much as you can about your cancer and all the options and ask questions.  You will find out just how strong you really are during this ordeal.  You can do it!!!
I'm having my nipple reconstruction on the new booby and breast reduction/lift on the original booby tomorrow.  I'll post when I can on how it went.
L & H,

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