Is it critical that gastric cancer therapy begin immediately? Expert Dr. Matthew Strickland explains how timing can affect care and key factors to consider when deciding on a treatment plan.
Dr. Matthew Strickland is a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn more about Dr. Strickland.
Dr. Strickland, if I’ve been recently diagnosed, how long is it safe for me to wait before I begin treatment?
Dr. Matthew Strickland:
I’m so glad you asked that question, because this is a question that comes up nearly 100 percent of the time when I meet a patient for the first time. Understandably once someone is diagnosed, this leads to incredible anxiety to start to do something. It’s true that over a long period of time cancer could develop the ability to spread, but what’s I’m often telling my patients is that on the order of 2, 3, or perhaps 4 weeks, that’s not enough time for cancer to spread.
It’s much more important for us to complete a proper workup, so we know in great detail what diagnosis we’re dealing with as well as what stage we’re dealing with.
That we can prepare the most personalized treatment plan for that patient. So, it’s very common for us to start treatment, you know, two to three weeks after that initial meeting. I want patients to really know that this is okay. Nothing is going to change compared to that original diagnosis in that short period of time.