Dean from Perth, Western Australia, Australia asked:

Is chemotherapy less effective if not started within six to eight weeks of an operation?

Chemotherapy and cancer

Is there likely to be any problems if you start chemotherapy eight weeks after having a tumour removed?

Our answer

Although chemotherapy can still be effective if started later after surgery the possibility of it being less effective is increased over time for two reasons. Every time cancers cells divide the chance that a family of cells with changes that give them a natural resistance to chemotherapy drugs arises increases. Secondly chemotherapy is given after surgery to eliminate any microscopic disease that may be left and will eventually grow. The longer the chemotherapy is delayed the cancer cells can increase. Having said that, chemotherapy can’t be started too early after surgery or healing of the wound may slowed.

This page was last updated on: June 20, 2012

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