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Length of time til diagnosis

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I'm new here. My mom died of SCLC ten years ago and now my sister "likely" has LC. I've read a lot of the histories here and it seems that a lot of people get a really quick diagnosis and start treatment/have surgery quickly. It started out that way for my sister, but not it has slowed down and it's making me nervous.

She saw the pulmonologist last Wednesday and last Friday had a "stat" CT scan. We saw the pulmonologist for the results this past Tuesday. That was pretty quick. Well, now she's got to wait until next Wednesday to have the PET scan and the following Tuesday to even have an appointment with the thoracic surgeon to schedule a medialtroscope (sp?). I'm thinking it may take a week or two for him to schedule that. By the time we get a diagnosis, it's probably going to be month from her initial appointment.

The reason he suspects cancer is that multiple lung nodules that were seen but UNREPORTED (don't get me started at how mad I am about that. They also didn't report that she had pneumonia at the time) back in March had grown "significantly" by her CT the other day. If that is the case, it seems to me that a month is a lot of time to lose. Or is this a fairly normal time span and I am just going nuts over the waiting?

Thanks... you guys are great!


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things will go much faster for your mom if she goes to a comprehensive cancer center such as at the University of North Carolina.

http://cancer.med.unc.edu/patient/progr ... racic.asp#

They have a multidisciplinary approach there. You can see all the appropriate specialists within a day or 2 and don't have to wait weeks for an appointment. Your mom can take the data she already has and give it to UNC. Another benefit, is that centers like these are state of the art treatment centers. I am certain your mom won't have to wait a month or 2 for treatment to finally begin.

It took 2 months for my treatment to finally begin for me after my first cancer. I did not go to a comprehensive cancer center, but instead saw a succession of independent specialists and so had to wait for appointments to roll around.

Don M

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Just posting our initial time frame for you.

From the time that Tony saw the Dr. the first time for his cough until biopsy and diagnosis it was 4 weeks. His first chemo was about 5-6 weeks from the beginning.

We talked about going to M.D. Anderson or U of Chicago, but decided to go with the local onc (one of the best in the area) to not waste any more time. So far, so good.

Hope this helps.

Good luck and best wishes,


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My FIL's original tumor was seen on a routine xray on June 3rd - he did not have surgery till Sept 9. It seemed like each test or xray was 3-4 weeks from the last one - in my opinion, they let way too much time lapse, and I think it allowed things to progress to a worse state by the time he had surgery. I wish that we would have pushed for answers sooner - maybe it wouldn't change things - who knows!

Dont be afraid to ask questions and demand answers!!

The folks here will have many more suggestions for you!

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My dad had a second opinion and it was a lifesaver. Had he stuck with his first doc he would have had to wait 2-3 weeks. At Mayo he got in right away, and started chemo in like 3 days. He was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer with Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, which means essentially the tumor was cutting off the blood supply from the upper extremities to the heart. Very bad deal...untreated this has a survival rate of 2-4 months, oftetimes weeks...so as you can see, we didn't have weeks to wait...

By NO means am I saying that this is what is happening in your scenario, but it is tribute to having second opinions, and getting the ball rolling right away.

Good luck and God bless!


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Mom's time frame seemed to move quite quickly. I guess I don't know what "normal" is (is any of this normal?), but I say it never hurts to ask questions!

Verbalize your questions / feelings/ frustratoins. If you don't get good answers, maybe it is time to go Dr. shopping.

Good luck! Let us know how your sister is doing.

:) Kelly

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my father had his first xray December 28, 2002, then had cat scans and bronchoscopy and diagnosis by January 15, 2003. Then additional cat scans to determine staging and whether it spread. They did not start treatment until i believe February 9, 2003. Every time i tried to schedule a test ASAP they were so backed up that they had to try to squeeze us in. There are a lot of variables in this situation and several people in the same situation. I remember when i was making appointments telling them that the doctor had requested the test ASAP and a month was just not acceptable.

Just keep pushing.

Good luck dealing with the system.

God Bless

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