How long do I need to wait after surgery for radiation?

Richard Whittington, MD
Last Modified: June 30, 2002

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
How long do I need to wait after surgery for radiation?  

Answer

Richard Whittington, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

In general you wait until the surgeon says that healing is adequate to get radiation. this is generally 3 to 6 weeks after surgery, but may be longer if there are post operative problems that delay healing. Since chemotherapy is given with the radiation, the two may start together or the radiation can be delayed for 2 and possibly 4 months after chemotherapy starts without losing any of its' effectiveness.